Ask Your Preacher
The common sleeping pills have their affect on the brain by binding to GABA receptors, potentiating a sedative effect. Alcohol binds to the same receptors and produces the same effects. If it is "okay" to use a prescribed sleeping pill, would it be equally okay to drink alcohol for the same reason? I had a medical doctor tell me I could either take an Ambien or drink a glass of wine before bed, so this is a true concern for me. Please advise.
Dear Medical Matter,
Alcohol has always been a problem in society, and Christians are rightfully cautious about any connection with liquor. This isn’t a new concern; Christians have always felt this way. In 1 Tim 5:23, Paul had to specifically tell Timothy that using alcohol medicinally was okay. This is the exact same scenario you are facing. If your doctor prescribes alcohol medicinally, your situation would fall into the same category as 1 Tim 5:23. Having said that, if your conscience offends you, you should choose alternate medical routes (after all, we are blessed to live in a time with so many medical options) because anything that isn’t done in faith is sinful (Rom 14:23).
Just to reiterate, this only pertains to medical prescriptions, not recreational or social drinking.
Is divorce ever "okay"? If so, when? When there has been unfaithfulness, abuse, neglect?
Curious About Causes
Dear Curious About Causes,
Divorce always involves sin. God is never okay with divorce, but He does allow it in certain circumstances. In Mal 2:16, God says that He hates divorce and compares divorce to an act of violence and bloodshed. In every divorce, you will see that one or both parties have committed sin.
In Matt. 19:9, Jesus says that divorce is wrong between two believers unless fornication has been committed. ‘Fornication’ means ‘sexual immorality’. Adultery is an allowed reason for divorce.
The other reason is found in 1 Cor 7:12-15. In those verses, the apostle Paul explains that a Christian that is married to an unbeliever can accept a divorce if the unbeliever wishes to break up the marriage. This doesn’t mean that the Christian can instigate a divorce from an unbeliever, but they aren’t sinning by accepting the divorce.
Those are the two circumstances when God says that divorce is allowed. In other situations, separation would be allowed, but not divorce.
If you would like more information on what Jesus taught regarding Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage - this link will take you to a series of lessons we taught on the subject.
The recent questions on tithing have got me thinking. If someone gives out of their personal funds to things related to their specific congregation... say, they buy class materials or pitch in for building upkeep. Could that be considered as part of their giving for the week? We are on a strict budget and sometimes have to buy things for the church but feel bad if when the collection plate rolls around on Sunday morning, we've already spent that money earlier in the week.
On A Shoestring
Dear On A Shoestring,
There is nothing wrong with factoring other spending you do on behalf of the church into your giving, but the biggest thing you need to do is to factor these things in at the beginning and not when Sunday rolls around. 2 Cor 9:7 says that we should “purpose in our hearts” what we should give, and 1 Cor 16:1-3 talks about giving in a purposeful, planned way. If we are reading your question right, what is happening is that you have a budget, and whatever is left at the end of that budget is what you give. That is the opposite of how giving should be done. When you first get money, you should plan ahead what you will give (factor in extra church giving expenditures you may need to prepare for), set that money aside, and then the decision is made well before the plate comes by. That way, you can feel confident that what you are giving is purposeful and cheerfully planned.
Why do people that are not saved put others down?
On The Up And Up
Dear On The Up And Up,
People do things for a lot of different reasons, some legitimate, some not. Especially when people are living their lives outside of Christ, they are enslaved to sin, and they make all sorts of unhealthy decisions (Rom 6:17-18). It isn’t our job to judge or condemn those outside of Christ – God says that they will be judged by the Word (Jhn 12:48). It is our job to look past whatever harm or personal injury we may have suffered and strive to bring the truth of Christ to them. Don’t worry about what those who are lost do to you; worry for them and be a light (Matt 10:28).
What does the Bible say on cremation? Is it okay to be cremated after you pass away?
Dear Last Wishes,
Both cremation and burial are acceptable Biblical practices. The Bible makes it clear that your body is merely a tent that is discarded at death (2 Cor 5:1-4). Peter recognized that at death we leave this ‘tent’ of a body behind (2 Pet 1:14). Ultimately, your physical body will return to dust and dirt (Gen 3:19). It may sound morbid, but cremation simply speeds along the natural process of decay that will occur to all bodies eventually.
Furthermore, we have at least one account of cremation occurring in the Old Testament. Saul and his sons were cremated after they died in battle (1 Sam 31:12). The men that cremated Saul and his sons were later commended by David for their behavior (2 Sam 2:5). That same verse in 2 Samuel shows that David considered cremation a form of burial. David’s endorsement of cremation as a godly practice is worth noting.
The Bible does not seem to place much focus on how someone is buried. God’s emphasis is upon how we live (Gal 2:20), not what is done with our body after we die.