Ask Your Preacher

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GOD

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The Discomfort Zone

Monday, October 17, 2011
     I read so much about prayer, how to pray so that God hears you, how not to pray, what is right, what is wrong... I am so confused.  I am a christian and believe in God with all my heart.  Being European, I have a hard time getting into American churches and do not feel comfortable.  I’d rather read my Bible at home and pray in the solitude of my home.  I have been praying for so many years and cannot seem to get an answer.  It seems that my heart and soul doubt my own faith, and I am scared.  I prayed to God to lead the way, help me how to pray, and wish nothing more than to be happy again after many betrayals.  How can I pray right?  Is it not enough that my heart speaks to God, and He knows my pain?  I am in that storm, and I am sad almost every day.  I am blessed with two wonderful children and two grandchildren, but still I feel that I do not belong on this earth and slowly am losing my will to love.  Where is a chapter in the Bible that gives me hope?

Sincerely,
Dwindling Away

Dear Dwindling Away,

Sometimes the things we are most uncomfortable doing are the very things that are missing in our lives.  Nobody likes to get shots, but that needle is delivering needed medicine to the body.  You are comfortable praying, you are comfortable reading your Bible, but you say that you are uncomfortable going to church services.  You are losing your will to love… and God says that assembling with the saints is what provokes our love (Heb 10:24-25).  You feel alone, and it is the church that God uses to surround us and make us feel a part of something bigger than ourselves (Eph 4:16).  You feel like you don’t belong, and God says the church is what makes us part of a family (Eph 2:19).  God has already answered your prayer by showing you in His Word what will make you whole – join a faithful church.  Let us help you find a congregation in your area that will help you become the christian the Lord intends for you to be.  E-mail us at askyourpreacher@mvchurchofchrist.org, and we will be happy to help you meet with other people who love the Lord just like you do.

The Effects Of Sin

Sunday, October 16, 2011
     I am a fifty-two-year-old christian mother.  My thirty-four-year-old son is dying of ALS.  I am furious with God right now… not only that my son is dying, but how horribly devastating this disease is.  He is married with three children.  Please, without the usual christian rhetoric that we all preach, please explain to me WHY God who loves us lets horrible things happen – not only to my son, but others.  Are we just rats in a cage to Him for His amusement?  Is He loving, or is that just a myth?  Are He, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit one?  I think no.  I think Jesus represents love, and I think God represents power, control, wrath, and arrogance.  Please help me to understand.

Sincerely,
Angry Mother

Dear Angry Mother,

Life here on this planet is full of heartaches, and we here at AYP cannot imagine how devastated you are right now.  This world is full of all sorts of disease, pain, violence, and strife – but God didn’t cause those things, sin did.  All bad things are a result of sin.  When God made the world, He placed mankind in the Garden of Eden and gave us a joyously blissful existence in that paradise.  Who caused the pain?  We did.  It is sin that has brought all of the death, disease, decay, pain, suffering, troubles, and heartaches into our world.  We all, in varying degrees, are reaping the benefits of a world with sin in it.  Sickness is a consequence of Adam and Eve’s sin in the Garden of Eden.  One of the curses of their sin was that we all must face our own mortality – life is finite.  Sickness, disease, and pain are a part of the human existence.  Sadly, this is true even for our children. When God gave us freewill, He gave us the right to cause problems for ourselves and others, and if He simply removed all the consequences for our actions, He would be removing our freedoms as well.

Sometimes bad things simply happen because they happen.  Job suffered greatly, and his children died, but it wasn’t his (or their) fault.  Job hadn’t done anything wrong, nor had his kids.  It all happened because Satan wanted to do evil (Job 1:6).  As long as we live in this world of sin, there will be troubles.  Sometimes, there isn’t anyone at fault… just time and chance wreaking havoc in a sinful world (Eccl 9:11).

Regardless of the reasons, your son’s illness is devastating to you – and rightfully so.  You have every right to be hurt, but don’t let that hurt cause you to turn your back on God who wants to save us all from this sinful world.  After all, God gave His Son’s life for us – He knows how painful this is for you and knows exactly how to give you comfort through this dark hour.

Empty Arms

Friday, October 14, 2011
     What does God think about infertility?  I have a disease that has caused me to not be able to conceive a child on our own.  Is that in God’s plan for us, or is it the devil?  I do believe that He has a plan for everyone and He tests your faith, but if we've been trying for eight years, does that mean that I've failed?  What does God say about infertility treatment?  Is it a sin?

Sincerely,
Heart-Broken Wife

Dear Heart-Broken Wife,

Infertility is another consequence of Adam and Eve's sin.  When God created the universe, He made everything good (Gen 1:31).  The world didn’t have disease, thorns, suffering, and all the other problems we see today.  Originally, Adam and Eve lived in the perfect paradise of the Garden of Eden (Gen 2:8).  It is only after Adam and Eve were cast from the Garden because of their sin that all the problems we see today began.

God can cause all things to work together for good for you and your husband (Rom 8:28), but He didn't cause the diseases that affect our lives.  The fact that you haven't conceived doesn't mean you have "failed" any sort of test; just like other people dealing with sicknesses aren't failures because of their illnesses, you aren't a failure because you can't conceive.  Some of the most faithful people dealt with the same infertility issues that you do.  Hannah and Sarah were both faithful women that wept many tears over the fact they couldn't have children.  The burden and pain you are carrying isn't an indicator that you are unfaithful – it just is what it is.

As far as infertility treatments, that is a big issue because modern technology allows us to do things that are both good and bad – some treatments are fine; others aren't.  Read our post "Apples Of Our Eyes" for what to consider before undergoing treatments.

Son And Equal

Friday, October 14, 2011
    Is Jesus God's son, or was Jesus really God in a human form on Earth?

Sincerely,
Son-ny Disposition

Dear Son-ny Disposition,

The Father is God… and Jesus is God, too.  There are three parts to the Godhead: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  This is most easily seen in Matt 3:16-17.  When Jesus was baptized, the Father spoke from heaven, and the Holy Spirit descended as a dove.  Each of them is eternal (they were all at the creation – Gen. 1:1, Gen. 1:2, Col 1:15-17).  John 1:1 specifically says that Jesus is Deity.  Jesus is different than the Father, but He is part of the Godhead.  Jesus even said that He had always existed (Jhn 8:58).  The apostles worshipped Jesus as God (Jhn 20:28).

Jesus was also God’s son because He was given a physical body by God (Heb 10:5, Matt 1:18).  Jesus also obeyed the Father as a son would obey (Jhn 5:19).  Jesus was also the firstborn Son because He is the firstborn of the church – God’s children (Rom 8:29).  Jesus is completely deity, but He also has a unique role as the only member of the Godhead to have also lived in the flesh (1 Tim 3:16).

Hardening Of The Arteries

Friday, October 07, 2011
     Why did God harden Pharaoh’s heart when Aaron went to tell him to let His people go?  Doesn't that go against free will??

Sincerely,
Chisel In Hand

Dear Chisel In Hand,

It is true that Ex 7:3 says that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart, but Ex 8:15 says that Pharaoh hardened his own heart.  Both are true.  God hardened Pharaoh’s heart by sending Moses to take Pharaoh’s slaves away, and Pharaoh chose to allow the plagues to anger and harden his heart instead of soften it.  God sent the events that affected Pharaoh’s heart, and Pharaoh chose how he would react to them.

It is the same as the statement, “I made him angry” versus “He got angry with me.”  It is true that our words and actions can cause a reaction from others, but at the same time, when someone gets angry, that is still their choice.  Pharaoh was the kind of person that when confronted with the signs and wonders from God, he hardened his heart and became angry.  God sent the signs and wonders; Pharaoh chose to react like he did.

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