Ask Your Preacher

Ask Your Preacher

SELF

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Artificial Light

Tuesday, July 17, 2018
Is it wrong to go to tanning beds or use spray-on tans?

Sincerely,
UV is Ultra-Vain?

Dear UV is Ultra-Vain,

There are two issues to consider with tanning – the health issue and the vanity issue.  First of all let’s look at the health concerns.  Overall, the Scriptures lay out a general principle of healthy living and not overindulging.  Moderation is the key, and there is a time for everything (Eccl 3:1).  We are told that we need to take care of our bodies because they are a gift from God (1 Cor 6:19).  Every activity involves certain health risks, and tanning is no exception.  Each christian needs to assess the arguments for and against tanning for themselves and be a good steward of the body God has given them.

The second issue is vanity.  God tells us that we need to be careful to not be the type of people that are vain and focused on our outward appearance all the time (1 Tim 2:9-10).  Tanning is typically done as an act to beautify the body – this isn’t inherently wrong, but it can be if not kept in proper perspective.  Remember that beauty fades, but character is forever (Pr 31:30).

 

Ink Stains

Thursday, May 24, 2018
Is it in the Bible that if you get tattoos on your body and body piercings you’re condemned to hell?

Sincerely,
Pierced To The Heart

Dear Pierced To The Heart,

Tattoos were 100% sinful in the Old Testament – in the New Testament they are sinful some of the time. The Old Testament strictly forbade tattoos (Lev 19:28). God was so adamant about it because cutting your flesh and tattooing were common practices of pagan cultures (1 Kgs 18:26-28). Tattooing was a religious practice closely tied to Baal and other idols.

In the New Testament, we are given no specific command against tattoos. It is valuable, however, to see that for a very long time tattoos have had a negative connotation. As a christian, there are many things that we can do but should think carefully about beforehand. Just because I can do something, doesn’t mean it is a good idea (1 Cor 10:23). Tattoos are permanent, and the decision to get one shouldn’t be taken lightly.

In American culture, tattoos can give a negative impression – especially if the tattoo is large or in a highly visible area. Some things to consider:

  1. Tattoos are a deterrent for some employers. Are you willing to get passed over in a job application?
  2. People will automatically form judgments about you based upon their first impression of a tattoo. Are you comfortable with being thought of in reference to whatever the image is?
  3. You must also consider what effects it will have long-term. Will you still want Tweety Bird on your shoulder when you are in the nursing home?
  4. Are you ready to explain to your three-year-old why you have song lyrics on your bicep? Are you okay with your children wanting tattoos themselves?
  5. Many tattoos change their shape, size, and even location with weight loss and gain. Are you ready for that “cute” bellybutton butterfly to become a condor when you get pregnant?
  6. Many tattoos are of things that exude evil focus on evil, violence, or nudity. Demonic symbolism, nude pictures, bad words, etc. are to be avoided at all costs.

We must always consider our influence and how it will affect others. God tells us to be wise and seek wisdom in our decisions (Pr 8:33). Whatever decision an individual makes, I recommend seeking outside counsel before getting something as permanent as a tattoo (Pr 11:14). It is not wrong for a christian to get a tattoo, but it certainly isn’t a decision to make lightly.

 

Accepting The Gift

Tuesday, May 22, 2018
How do you forgive yourself as God has forgiven you?

Sincerely,
Regretful

Dear Regretful,

What you are asking is one of the most difficult things in life ­– forgiving yourself.  Like all things, God is better at forgiveness than we are.  Many people hold on to the guilt and shame of sin far too keenly.  God tells us that there are several things to remember:

  1. Even if your heart condemns you, God keeps His promises.  On the Judgment Day, we will be judged by God's standards, not whether or not we feel worthy (1 Jn 3:20).
  2. We can reassure our own hearts that we have been forgiven when we study and live by the truth of the Bible (1 Jn 3:18-20).  The more we immerse ourselves in God's teachings, the quicker we begin to realize that forgiveness isn't about being worthy… but about having faith in the mercy of God.

All in all, self-forgiveness takes time... just like all areas of growth.

 

One Sheep At A Time

Monday, May 21, 2018
Lately, I have been feeling like I have not been the best christian that I ought to be.  I try to be excited that I'm going to heaven and how blessed I am to know God and living how Christ would have me to, but sometimes I get so upset thinking about all those (including family) that won’t be there with me.  I try to always be positive, hoping that others may come to repentance, but for some, I know there is no chance they will follow Christ.  Why do I keep lingering on these thoughts?

Sincerely,
Disheartened

Dear Disheartened,

You are facing a normal and healthy part of the christian growth process.  It is a sign of compassion when that you look at those who are lost in this world, and it wrenches your heart.  It is okay to be hurt by the vastness of those who have chosen the wide path to destruction (Matt 7:13).  Jesus wept over His kinsman in Jerusalem that turned their back on the truth and rejected the gift of salvation (Lk 19:41-42).  When Paul thought about his lost fellow countryman, it grieved him deeply… so much so that he wished he could trade places with their souls, so they might be saved (Rom 9:1-3).  Paul’s heart’s desire was that his beloved kinsman would be saved (Rom 10:1-2), but he also knew that it was their choice, not his.  You are having the same emotions that Paul and Jesus dealt with – take it as a sign of spiritual maturity and growth.

The important thing to remember is that the greatest help you can be to the lost is to be that shining light and preserving salt that Christ exhorted us to become (Matt 5:13-15).  You can’t save everyone from their own choices, but, as Paul said, we try and live so that we can save some (Rom 11:13-14).

 

Working For God

Tuesday, April 10, 2018
The question I have: I believe six years ago, the Lord placed in my heart the desire to become a nurse, and ever since I received that, I've been pursuing this, taking classes and asking questions.  This quarter, I'm taking a biology class, but for some reason, I'm starting to wonder if this is what God wants me to do.  The reason why I'm asking myself and asking God this is because this quarter, I find myself struggling to sit down and study and do the homework.  I want to do well in this class; I want to understand what I'm studying; I want to be that nurse for God that knows what she is doing.

What I want to know is why it is a struggle for me now.  Is it because I'm out of God’s will?  (I hope not.)  Or is it something I'm not seeing?

Sincerely,
Nursing A Career

Dear Nursing A Career,

God doesn't miraculously imbue us with what profession we should take and the power to sail through classes.  The fact that you are having to work hard for your degree isn't a sign from God one way or the other.  Hard work is a blessing, and hard workers are pleasing to God.  Ecclesiastes says that we have the freedom to pursue whatever things we want in this life – as long as we remember that God will judge us in the end for the life we lived (Eccl 11:9).  Being a nurse is a noble and kind profession, and there is nothing wrong with pursuing it, but don't think that God directly spoke to you that you need to be a nurse.  God doesn't work that way.  God speaks to us through His Son's Word, the Bible (Heb 1:1-2).  We are faithful when we listen to that Word and obey it (Rom 10:17).  Nursing school is a difficult challenge for even the most agile minds – you aren't struggling because you've done something wrong.

 

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