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Keeping Under The Cap

Wednesday, August 23, 2017
How many times will God forgive me?  I’ve messed up many times and have repeated the same sin numerous times.  I always beg wholeheartedly for forgiveness and continue to try, but I keep falling, but I get back up, ask for forgiveness and strength, and continue to press on.  I know that one day I will finally conquer this sin through the glory and power of God, but I’m just curious if there is a limit at which He will stop forgiving me for the same sin, even if I truly want to stop.

Sincerely,
What’s The Quota?

Dear What’s The Quota,

There are two parts to your question:

  1. How many times can I ask for forgiveness for the same sin?
  2. How do I remove this sin from my life?

The answer to the first question is simple. You can ask for forgiveness an innumerable amount of times. Christ told Peter that we should forgive ‘seventy times seven’ (Matt 18:21-22). Paul was forgiven of his sins even after killing christians and actively persecuting the church (1 Tim 1:16). As often as we truly repent, God is ready to forgive (Lk 17:4). It is quite possible to truly repent of something and then find yourself doing that same thing not minutes later. It happens in arguments all the time! You say something mean, apologize, then find yourself upset again, and again use rash words. The repeating of the cycle is not necessarily an indication of false sorrow.

However, the second part of your question deals with stopping this cycle. God will forgive you for stumbling again into the same sin, but only if you are truly attempting to change your mind. Paul reminds us that we are to do everything we can to flee from the slavery to sin (Rom 6:1-2, Rom 6:12-13). Without knowing what sin you are caught up in, I can’t give specific advice, but I recommend getting help if it is as consuming as you say. Many sins can become addictions that are very hard to break. Here are some things to consider:

  1. Are you trying to change all on your own? God says two are stronger than one (Eccl 4:9-10). In the case of sin like pornography, many people try and struggle through it alone without seeking help because of the shame involved in it becoming known. This rarely, if ever, works. Telling someone, even just one trusted friend, and using things like Covenant Eyes accountability software can make all the difference in such circumstances.
  2. Are you putting yourself in compromising situations? People with drug and alcohol addictions are often tempted back into their old habits by drinking buddies or parties where drugs are made available. You may need to cut off certain people and habits from your life in order to escape that sort of sin. Remember, Christ said it would be better to remove even your own hand if it would free you from a sin (Matt 5:30).

Removing sin from our lives is a constant struggle. God is ready to forgive you ‘seventy times seven’ as you fight to defeat this sin, but you must look yourself in the mirror and make sure you are taking the steps necessary to change your life.

Head Coverings

Tuesday, August 22, 2017
Please clarify the interpretation of 1 Corinthians 11:1-16.  In church, we are required to pray individually and corporately.  I see women in church and on T.V. ministries lead prayers and prophesy without head covering.  In 1 Cor 11:1, Paul says, " Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ".  Verse two says, "... Keep the traditions just as I delivered them to you."  Verse sixteen says, "But if anyone seems to be contentious, we have no such custom, nor do the churches of God."

Sincerely,
Keep Your Hat On

Dear Keep Your Hat On,

Women must always have their heads covered while praying (1 Cor 11:5), but God has built into every woman a permanent head-covering – her hair (1 Cor 11:15).  God designed men and women differently… this should be no surprise to anyone that has ever dealt with the opposite gender!  Men are to be the leaders in the home (Eph 5:23) and the church (Tit 1:5-6).  Women are the heart of the family (Tit 2:4-5), and men are not complete without them (1 Cor 11:12).  Both genders are equal heirs of salvation, but they are designed with different strengths and roles (1 Pet 3:7).  One way that God signifies this is by having men look different from women.  When women have long hair and men have short hair – it pleases God (1 Cor 11:14-15).  There are varying degrees of long and short hair, but ultimately – men are to look like men, and women are to look like women.  This principle is even borne out in the Old Testament (Deu 22:5).  The teachings of 1 Cor 11:1-16 are simply teaching that a woman’s long hair is a God-given covering for her head, and men are not to have that same covering due to their varying roles in leadership.

Last Worst Decision

Friday, August 18, 2017
I have a friend that says he is a true born-again christian, but he has been having a lot of problems in his life and has thought about taking his own life.  His question was if you were to take your own life, even if he is really saved, if he was to do something like that, he wanted to know if he would go to hell.  I told him I didn’t think so; I think once you are saved under Jesus’ blood, you’re always saved no matter what.  Is there any verse in the Bible that talks about that?  If so, could you give that to me, so that I can talk to my friend?  Thank you so much.

Sincerely,
Friend To The Hurting

Dear Friend To The Hurting,

People can lose their salvation. Heb 6:4-6 and Heb 10:26-27 outline that if someone rejects God’s Word (even after becoming a christian), they will go to hell just like any other unbeliever. And that is the key to the whole thing – is suicide an example of rejecting God’s Word and sinning willfully?

Suicide certainly is condemned. Suicide is murder, self-murder, and is therefore very clearly a sin (Rev 21:8). The only difference between suicide and murdering someone else is that you don’t get a chance to repent after suicide. Suicide is a final decision and leaves no room for correction or for asking forgiveness. Therefore, in most cases, it would be fair to say that suicide will send you to hell. It is a willful act of disobedience against God without opportunity for repentance.

We here at AYP only hesitate to say, “All people who commit suicide go to hell,” because God never specifically makes that statement. The final judgment belongs to God (Heb 12:23), but we certainly wouldn’t want to face that judgment with our own blood on our hands.

Costumes, Candy, And Controversy

Wednesday, August 09, 2017
Why do christians celebrate Halloween when it has to do with Satan?   Halloween began when the Romans worshiped other "gods".  That is what I have studied; if this is so, then christians that celebrate this tradition are following Satan’s road.

Sincerely,
More Trick Than Treat

Dear More Trick Than Treat,

Good and faithful people debate this issue all the time, but, yes, you can celebrate Halloween without sinning.  Halloween does have its roots in pagan rituals.  All Hallow’s Eve is often associated with evil spirits, demon worship, voodoo, and witchcraft.  It is, however, also associated with happy scampering children whose most wicked intent is the desire to glut themselves on candy. New Year’s Eve could be viewed the same way.  New Year’s Eve is often associated with inappropriate male and female interaction and drunkenness.  It is also associated with fresh starts, reflective new beginnings, and an evening of friendship and brotherly kindness.  These holidays can be a good thing or a bad thing.  Though the origins are pagan, many holidays have pagan beginnings that are no longer a part of the modern tradition.  How you participate and your reasons for participating will make the difference.

  1. God soundly condemns witchcraft and any magical arts (1 Sam 15:23, Acts 19:19).  Anyone participating in Halloween in an occult way is sinning.
  2. Christians are supposed to focus on pure and holy things (Php 4:8).  Many of the costumes that are worn during Halloween are macabre, violent, or ghoulish.  Christians should think very carefully before placing too much emphasis upon dark things.
  3. Christians should dress modestly (1 Tim 2:9).  Many costumes, especially those worn by adults, are immodest.  A holiday is not an excuse for dressing in an ungodly way.
  4. Don’t participate if it will bother your conscience.  God tells us that we should always keep a pure conscience (1 Tim 1:5).  If you can’t do something in faith, it is sin (Rom 14:23).

After considering these principles – go get some candy corn!

Living A Lie

Monday, August 07, 2017
I'm married with a family.  I have had feelings for men since I was younger.  I still do.  I've acted upon them a few times while married.

I don't want a divorce, but I’m not sure I can handle the situation (and be faithful from here on out).

I am so tired...tired of being tired.

I'm to the point, sometimes, I just wish something bad would happen to me, so I don't have to face the situation...and that scares me.

What do I do?

Sincerely,
Struggling Husband

Dear Struggling Husband,

Homosexuality is like all other sins; we sin when we act upon a lust.  God does not tempt us to sin (Jas 1:13).  It is our own lusts that entice us to do the wrong thing (Jas 1:14-16).  One person has a tendency toward anger, another has a tendency toward alcoholism, and some may in fact have a tendency toward homosexuality – but that tendency does not force them to sin.  We need to put away all filthiness of the flesh and be doers of God’s Word (Jas 1:21-22).

Nobody is forced to have a sinful homosexual relationship.  The argument of the homosexual community is that they are born desiring people of the same sex and that they have no choice.  That simply cannot be true.  God makes it clear that He will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we are able (1 Cor 10:13).  Even if someone is born with a predisposition toward homosexuality – they aren’t forced to act upon it.  We always have a choice.  There is always a way of escape from sin.

Which brings us to our advice.  Your desire for men is exactly the same as any other addiction – and needs treatment.  There are groups that will help treat those trying to leave homosexual lifestyles (we would be happy to help get you in contact with a counselor near you).  It is possible to stop.  In fact, Paul noted that some of the christians of the first century used to be homosexuals (1 Cor 6:9-11).  The bottom line ­– you don't have to be homosexual!  You can lead a life of fulfillment and holiness as God intended, a life far better than what you have experienced so far.

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