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Conscience Conscious

Tuesday, April 03, 2012
     God bless you, brethren.  My question today is how important is it to have a clear conscience?  I have the tendency to be a critic, especially of myself.  Even when I do something right. I often replay it in my head and feel like I could've done it better.  I find it hard to be satisfied and pleased with the amount of love I show people, the sharing of the gospel (or lack thereof), my thoughts, my devotional life, the amount of time I spend in prayer and in the Word, etc….

Sincerely,
Critical Thinker

Dear Critical Thinker,

There is a difference between being dissatisfied with past choices and having conscience problems.  The word ‘conscience’ refers to that part of your mind that prompts you to do what you think is good and condemns you for doing what you think is bad.  Paul said that he had a clear conscience… even though he had attempted to kill Christians (Acts 23:1).  The reason Paul could have a clean conscience after doing such reprehensible things is because when Paul did it, he did it in ignorance (1 Tim 1:13).  As soon as Paul realized that he was sinning, he changed.

This is exactly what you are describing in your life.  You try your best, and when your conscience prompts you – you act.  Sure, there are mistakes made along the way, and in reflection, you could do better, but that is true of all of us.  The key is that you are listening to your conscience and keeping a soft heart that is open to the Lord’s teachings (1 Tim 1:5).

Sunny Side Up

Wednesday, March 28, 2012
How can I live a more stress-free life, so I can live on in my life?

Sincerely,
Bundle Of Nerves

Dear Bundle Of Nerves,

A stress-free life is impossible, but a Christian has tools to deal with the ups and downs of life that change everything.  We are told that we can pray for a quiet and tranquil life (1 Tim 2:1-2).  Matt 6:33-34 says that if we seek the Lord, He will take care of us and care for our needs.  Ps 55:22 also teaches that we can cast our burdens upon God, and He will sustain us.  And lastly, Rom 8:28 gives us the confidence that God will cause all things to work together for good for those who love Him.  Christianity doesn’t mean a stress-free life, but it means a life where we can have peace through the trials (Php 4:7).

Awesome Sauce

Saturday, March 24, 2012
Am I awesome?

Sincerely,
Insecure

Dear Insecure,

If you are a Christian, you are definitely awesome!  God says that Christians are His people, an elect race, and a royal priesthood (1 Pet 2:9).  Christians have a hope of heaven as their anchor (Heb 6:19).  You don’t get much more awesome than being on your way to heaven and a chosen child of God!

Self-Murder

Tuesday, March 06, 2012
If a believer in Christ takes their life after suffering from depression, will they go to heaven?

Sincerely,
Just Asking

Dear Just Asking,

Whether someone suffers from depression or not, 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.  It is a willful act of disobedience against God without opportunity for repentance.  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.

The Faith To Forgive Myself

Tuesday, February 28, 2012
     I’ve made some mistakes in the past that I’m ashamed of.  Society reminds me everyday of my actions, and makes it hard for me to forgive myself, especially when I know they haven’t forgiven me.  I feel ashamed and worthless.  What can I do to erase my past?

Sincerely,
Can’t Get Past the Past

Dear Can’t Get Past the Past,

You can't erase your past, but you can change your future… but that isn't the real issue.  The real problem is that you don’t feel forgiven.  The two issues are very different.  There are times when our head and our heart aren’t on the same page.  Guilt can drive someone crazy if they don’t learn to keep things in proper perspective.  God says that your heart can be wrong.   It is very similar to the problem that the apostle Paul faced.  Paul had murdered Christians and felt that he was the worst of the worst, but he learned that Jesus would forgive him (1 Tim 1:15-16).

The apostle John said it best, “By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before Him, for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and He knows everything.” (1 Jhn 3:19-20)  Your act of faith is going to be letting go of your fears and trusting that living by God’s Word is what matters (Rom 10:17)… not what society thinks of you.

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