Ask Your Preacher
After a Christian dies, can they contact their loved ones who are still living? I need Scripture to look into. I have a friend that thinks that she hears her husband say her name. He has been gone four years, and I do not believe he is contacting her.
Stop The Voices
Dear Stop The Voices,
God does not allow people to go back and contact others once they have passed away. Jesus told the story of a wicked, rich man and a faithful, poor man named Lazarus in Lk 16:19-31. When these two men died, the rich man immediately woke up in torment, and Lazarus was escorted to Paradise (Lk 16:22-23). This is what happens when the righteous and the wicked die. There is no wandering or ghostly haunting. In fact, the rich man was specifically told that the dead aren’t sent back to the earth to preach or affect the course of events here (Lk 16:27-31). We die, and then we wait to face the judgment (Heb 9:27).
Having said all of that, it is very common for those who have lost a spouse to imagine hearing them, seeing them in a crowd, and a thousand other things that make no logical sense but are consistent experiences with all that have lost loved ones. Your friend’s dead husband isn’t speaking to her, but she is experiencing a very normal part of the mourning process.
I give 10% of my income bi-weekly (tithes) as instructed from the church. I give offerings as afforded, as instructed by my church. I know the lights need to be paid, the mortgage paid, and the needy assisted when they go to the church for assistance. I can see why we should give to the church who serve the people. But, I need to know; is tithing a commandment that will truly bring on a curse to the withholder and blessings on the giver? (Malachi 3:8-9) I have struggled financially and wonder if it means I have no faith if I give less than 10%. I mean, tithes and offerings are necessary, but many churches need money to sustain itself, a place to worship, a place to fellowship with other saints. Does God need my money to show I believe He will provide for me? Is it a form of sacrifice to the temple or a means to take care of the church? I struggle with the Old Testament applicability today.
Dear Perplexed Giver,
Mal 3:8-10 teaches some principles about giving, but it doesn’t uphold the “10% or doom” preaching that many money-grubbing churches constantly harp on. Tithing is a Jewish commandment, not a christian one (more on this in a bit), but the Old Testament is full of examples that give us principles to live by (1 Cor 10:11). The principle behind Mal 3:8-10 is that when we give to God as He asks, He will bless us for our faithful trust in Him. This is true in our finances and in every other area of life. However, just because we give financially doesn’t mean that we won’t ever suffer or have needs. The belief that giving to God will always get you more money is called the ‘Prosperity Gospel’ – read “Cash Cow” for specifics on that false doctrine.
Now, let’s deal with the specifics of tithing. Tithing is an Old Testament commandment (Num 18:24), not a New Testament one. Jews tithe; christians “lay by in store as we have prospered” (1 Cor 16:1-3). God doesn’t give a specific percentage that christians should contribute. We must prepare beforehand what we will give (that’s the “lay by in store” part – 1 Cor 16:2). He also commands that we be “cheerful givers” and that we give as we have “purposed in our hearts” (2 Cor 9:7). Though tithing (which means ‘one tenth’) is a good rule of thumb for giving… it isn’t a command. The church is instructed by God to take up a collection once a week – you must decide for yourself what a cheerful and faithful giver looks like.
Will a Christian man ever get back on the path of life after sleeping with an adulteress woman?
I Really Messed Up
Dear I Really Messed Up,
Yes, you can be forgiven, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t consequences for your actions. Paul said that he was chief amongst sinners, and yet, Christ forgave him (1 Tim 1:15-16). Forgiveness is available when we confess our sins to Christ (1 Jn 1:9) and repent of them (Acts 3:19). ‘Repentance’ means to ‘change your mind’… literally to make a change in how you think and act. If you haven’t already stopped the adulterous relationship, you need to – now. You also need to come clean about it; honesty and truth are a foundational concept in Christianity (Jhn 8:32). Deception destroys; open truth illuminates (Jhn 3:19-20). You have dug a big hole for yourself… it is time to get to work filling that hole back in.
Of course, all of this is moot if you aren’t a christian yet. To see what the Bible says it takes to become a christian, read “What Must I Do To Be Saved?”. It is obvious you want God’s forgiveness, and the Bible is the only book that can tell you how to get it.
Where in the Bible does it talk about heaven on earth? Specifically, do we have bodies?
Flesh And Blood
Dear Flesh And Blood,
When we get to heaven, our loved ones won’t look anything like what they did on Earth. When we get to heaven, we will receive spiritual bodies (1 Cor 15:44). On the Day of Judgment, in the “twinkling of an eye”, we will be changed (1 Cor 15:52). In heaven, we will all look different than we do here. For more on that subject, read the entire fifteenth chapter of 1st Corinthians. However, heaven will not be here on earth. The earth is going to be destroyed at the Judgment Day (2 Pet 3:10-11)
A few weeks ago, my husband and I decided to put our twelve-year-old boxer to sleep. He went through a few months of suffering through inexplicable seizures and had apparently suffered brain damage. He had been in my life over six years. A week and a half ago, my fifteen-year-old cat died. The vet told me she had pancreatitis. She wasn't sick very long, but you could tell she was not well, and I knew in my heart she wouldn't be with me much longer. She was a very important part of my twenty-seven years here. I'm having a very difficult time dealing with it all. I think they will both be in heaven, and a lot of my friends agree. Is there something in the Bible that verifies (or disproves) this?
Dogs and cats don’t go to heaven, but we can really sympathize with your loss. One of our AYP writers still has pictures of his hunting dogs up in his office, and another is deeply attached to his family dog. Animals are a blessing from God (Gen 1:26). Animals have the “breath of life” just like humans do (Gen 2:7, Gen 6:17). This “breath of life” is also sometimes referred to as the “spirit” of a man or animal (Gen 7:22). Animals have spirits, and humans have spirits, but humans were also made in the image of God (Gen 1:26). Our spirits are eternal and will go up to be with the Father, and animal spirits are temporary and will return to the dust of the earth (Eccl 3:21). God made our spirit of a different caliber than He made those of the animal. This can feel like a very harsh truth after losing beloved family pets, but we can feel confident that God has decided wisely on this issue like all others. We may not always understand His reasons, but He always makes good decisions. We are so sorry for your loss, but we want you to know that God comforts us through all our sorrow… and He will bring you through this loss (2 Cor 13:11).