Ask Your Preacher

Ask Your Preacher

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I've Got The Joy, Joy, Joy

Wednesday, January 19, 2011
If I have lost my joy, how do I get it back?

Sincerely,
Joyless

Dear Joyless,

Suffering and sorrow are some of the most poignant experiences of human existence, and all the great men and women of the Bible faced them.  David said that his bed swam with tears many nights (Ps 6:6-7).  He also said that his sorrow was continually before him (Ps 38:17).  Isa 53:3 calls Jesus the “Man of Sorrows”.  Suffering is a constant reminder that this world is not our home and that our spirits will someday rise upward to meet our God (Eccl 3:19-21).  All of God’s faithful are strangers and pilgrims on this planet (Heb 11:13).

We cannot imagine what you are going through; you alone know your heart’s grief (Pr 14:10).  There is hope.  Trials can make us stronger if we reach out to the Lord (Rom 5:3-5).  If there is anything we can do, or if we can put you in contact with a faithful congregation that could buoy you up and prepare you for heaven, please e-mail us at askyourpreacher@mvchurchofchrist.org.

This Little Light Of Ours

Wednesday, January 19, 2011
What are the different lights that the book of Genesis talks about?  It says God made light; then it says He made the sun, stars, and moon later in chapter one!  Please explain in detail.

Sincerely,
Star Gazer

Dear Star Gazer,

God created light for the earth on the first day of Creation and separated the light from the darkness (Gen 1:3-5).  It wasn’t until day four that God created the sun (as well as the stars and moon) as a permanent source of light in the heavens (Gen 1:14-19).  This is often seen as a contradiction because everyone knows that the sun is the source of daylight here on Earth.  However, it isn’t a contradiction; it is merely a surprising detail of the Creation story.  God created the day and night cycles first, and later created a permanent source of light for those cycles.  This is no different than a house being built using contractor-grade work lights, and as the house nears completion, the permanent electrical system is put into place, and permanent lighting is installed.  We have never known a time when the earth’s light source wasn’t the sun, just like a homeowner never knows a time when the house was without permanent light fixtures.  There is no contradiction, just a very impressive creation process orchestrated by an immensely powerful God.

Hooked On A Feeling

Tuesday, January 18, 2011
When I am playing the piano in our worship, I hardly ever feel the presence of God.  But when I have the Sunday off, and I am worshipping, I feel God's presence.  Why is this?

Sincerely,
Not Feeling It

Dear Not Feeling It,

There are two parts to your question that must be dealt with.  Before we answer your concerns about how and when you feel close to God, we recommend you read the post “Music to HIS Ears”.  After reading that, it may make the second part of this question obsolete because it explains how using instruments as a part of worship isn’t a biblical practice.

The second half of your question deals with emotion.  The Bible never talks about us feeling the presence of God.  In fact, mankind hasn’t been allowed in the presence of God since Adam and Eve got kicked out of the Garden (Gen 3:8).  The angels are in God’s presence (Lk 1:19), but mankind won’t be until the Day of Judgment.  God is certainly close to us and affects our lives (Acts 17:27-28), but we don’t have direct contact with Him.  So when we talk about “feeling the presence of God”, what we are really discussing is when we feel emotionally close to God.  Emotions are fickle.  There will be times when you will feel like God is far from you… but you are wrong because He is still watching over you (Ps 9:10), and there are folks that believe that they are close to God, but they are separated from Him because they are living wickedly (Matt 7:21-23).  Simply put, we can’t trust our emotions to be accurate.  The only way to confidently know that God is near you is to live faithfully by hearing and acting upon His instructions (Rom 1:16).

How Can I Know?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011
How can I be a true christian?  There are so many different ways that people say how to be a christian; I would like to know: how do I know that I am living the right way?

Sincerely,
Looking For A Guarantee

Dear Looking For A Guarantee,

There is only one way to be confident in your salvation – follow what the Bible says.  There is only one hope for our salvation (Eph 4:4-6), and it is found in God’s Word (Rom 1:16).  The key to faithful living is to hear and do what the Bible says (Rom 10:17).  There will always be lots of different opinions from people, but those opinions are only valid if they agree with what your Bible says.  All preaching and teaching should sound like your Bible reads.  If someone tells you something, ask them for the Bible verses to prove it.  God tells us to test all teachers against His Word (1 Jn 4:1) because many religious teachers are false teachers.  Just because someone is zealous and sincere, doesn’t mean they are right (Rom 10:1-2).  Paul praised the idolatrous people of Athens for their religious fervor (Acts 17:22), but then explained that the idols they were so passionate about wouldn’t save them (Acts 17:23-25).  Here is a link to a post on what it takes to become a christian (“What Must I Do To Be Saved”), and here is another link to a post on why there is so much religious confusion (“Down With Denominationalism”)… read those articles and compare what we say to the Scriptures we cite, and then let the Bible be the final judge.

A Gateway To Trouble

Monday, January 17, 2011
I love God, and I stand strong for my religion, but I have recently gotten into pot.  Does this mean I am going to hell?

Sincerely,
Dabbling In Drugs

Dear Dabbling In Drugs,

God is the judge of the living and the dead (1 Pet 4:5)… we cannot make the judgment on whether you will go to heaven or hell, but we can say that you are doing things opposite of what the Bible teaches.  Consuming marijuana for “recreational” purposes is wrong.  God created every green herb on day three (Gen 1:11-13), but He didn’t create them to be used inappropriately.  God condemns drunkenness and insobriety (Rom 13:13, 1 Cor 6:10).  If any drug, including marijuana, is used to create a state of drunkenness – then, yes, it is a sin.

God created everything in this world for our good, and He created us for good works (Eph 2:10).  Abusing the plants and herbs that God has blessed this world with harms us and is a sin.  When we don’t treat our bodies with respect, we harm ourselves as well as displeasing God (1 Cor 6:19-20).  Glorify God in your body and stay free of the damaging effects of drugs.

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