Ask Your Preacher
I’m trying to learn to communicate with God. I know we speak to Him through prayer... so does He speak back to us through the Bible? When I ask for God’s perfect will on a subject, and I ask Him for confirmation in the Bible, and I open it and read on what He says, is the word that I read a promise? Thank you for explaining, and God bless!
Looking For Direction
Dear Looking For Direction,
God speaks to us through His Word. If we want to know God’s desire for our life, we must use the Bible to get our instructions. Faith comes from the Word (Rom 10:17), and the Bible contains all the information we need for life and godliness (2 Pet 1:3). If we want to understand what God wants for us, we can find the truth in the sum of His Word (Ps 119:160). It isn’t as simple as just opening the Bible and putting your finger on a page and looking for a sign; the Bible takes study and effort.
God doesn’t answer our prayers by directly speaking to us, but His Word says that we should pray without doubting (1 Tim 2:8) and that we should ask in faith (Jas 1:6). God says there are very few things that will cause Him to ignore our prayers. Read “Whose Prayers Count?” for the list of things that will make God turn His back on your prayers. God never gets tired of hearing from His children. Christians are to constantly seek Him in prayer. The most direct example of this is Christ’s parable of the unjust judge in Lk 18:1-5. Christ taught that parable, so “men ought always to pray and not to grow weary”. God wants to hear from His people. So don’t stop asking for help; He is listening.
I hear people say Jesus is God; I also hear He is God’s Son; then I hear He is both... so who is Jesus besides just our Savior?
Begin At The Beginning
Dear Begin At The Beginning.,
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).
I have a friend who is constantly asking why God didn't make us perfect in the first place since He knew we would fall. I've tried to explain His love in giving us free will, but she can't accept or understand that.
I've always known He created us for His glory, and giving us free will allows us an opportunity to do that by choosing His will for our lives. I just don't know how to relate to my friend in a way that she understands and accepts. Got any suggestions?
Dear Fumbling Friend,
You might try talking about the definition of ‘perfect’ with your friend. ‘Perfect’ means ‘complete’ or ‘having all the desirable and required elements’. Perfect doesn’t mean that something can’t be broken or fail. A car engine can be in perfect condition, and yet, if you don’t put oil in it – it will break. A house can be perfectly constructed and still be destroyed by an earthquake. When God made Adam and Eve, He made them without defect (Gen 1:31). They were made exactly as He intended them – in His image (Gen 1:26). Adam and Eve were designed with eternal souls and the ability to choose their own destiny. They were perfectly designed with the free will to choose to love God or to choose to rebel against Him. In fact, if mankind were designed so that it would be impossible for them to sin – they wouldn’t have free will. God has given us the great gift of choice, and it is up to us what we do with it (Deut 30:19). God could have made us without the freedom to choose, but then we wouldn’t be “in His image”… we would be automatons. If every parent had the choice between having a child that may break their heart or purchasing a robot that would obey their every command… well, the choice is obvious. A robot is no replacement for a child.
How do I know I am filled with the Holy Spirit?
Dear Feeling Empty,
The indwelling of the Holy Spirit that allowed people to perform miracles was received through the direct laying on of hands of the apostles (Acts 8:17-18). This dwelling of the Holy Spirit no longer exists because it died off with the last person that the last apostle laid his hands upon.
Christians do have the Holy Spirit dwell in them (Rom 8:9) – but not literally. The Holy Spirit dwells in christians in the same metaphorical way that Christ dwells in christians (Rom 8:10). The Holy Spirit and Jesus do not physically dwell inside christians miraculously. They dwell within christians in a figurative way because a christian’s life follows the path the Holy Spirit and Christ set for them.
The Holy Spirit dwells in those that follow the Bible and put to death their previous sinful lifestyles (Rom 8:12-14). The Holy Spirit gave us the Bible, and when we follow it, we are led by the Spirit (see this post for further details). Those who are led by the Spirit are sons of God, and the Spirit dwells in them (Rom 8:14-16).
How do I let go of guilty feelings that haunt me all the time for any and all wrong I've done throughout my life, regardless of how wrong the act. I've repented and asked forgiveness and honestly feel remorse. I know Jesus forgives and forgets, but how do I forget? It keeps me from feeling like I bettered myself by doing right, and I am not worthy of God's blessings. I feel He should bless others who are more worthy.
Please guide me in the right direction to accept my forgiveness from our Savior.
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:
- 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).
- 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.
- Another way to look at your problem is to remember that saying, “I can’t believe God will forgive me” is the same as saying, “I don’t believe that Jesus’ sacrifice was enough”. That may sound harsh, but our forgiveness is based upon Jesus’ blood (Col 2:14). It is an act of faith in Jesus to accept our own forgiveness.
All in all, self-forgiveness takes time… just like all areas of growth.