Ask Your Preacher
I am a mother of two, and we don't attend church. I tell them as much as I know about God and Jesus and the Bible. I am scared, though, every time I start to think about the end of days… not because I am not saved but because I heard that when the rapture comes, in heaven you will not know anyone. I want to know my kids. I want to watch them grow up and have babies of their own. I think I may be misunderstanding something. Please help me understand what is going to happen and if we are all going to be together and know each other. Please, I get so sad about all of it.
Dear Maternal Instinct,
The Rapture isn’t a biblical teaching, and it won’t actually happen (read our article “Up In The Air” for a detailed explanation of what the Bible teaches about the Rapture). However, you are still left with your concern about what heaven will be like (heaven is still very real! – 1 Pet 1:3-4). In heaven, we have every reason to believe we will know each other. In fact, if the transfiguration is any indication, we will know everyone in heaven, not just those we have known in this life. When Jesus was transfigured on the Mount of Olives, both Moses and Elijah appeared and talked to Christ (Lk 9:30). The remarkable thing is that Peter recognized both of those men even though they had been dead for many centuries (Lk 9:32-33).
Now, if we may, we’d like to address your statement that you don’t go to church. It is a sin to not attend church; the Bible says so (Heb 10:24-25). God uses the church to strengthen each of us individually, and He expects all of us to provide our effort to help strengthen others in His church (Eph 4:16). The church is the pillar and support of the truth (1 Tim 3:15). Every faithful christian of the Bible was commanded to be a member of a congregation because God knew that we shouldn’t stand alone. It is a wonderful thing that you are teaching your children about Jesus and training them up to love Him (Pr 22:6). We would be happy to help you move forward in your service to Christ by putting you in contact with a faithful congregation in your area. E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and let us help you fill in that piece in the puzzle of your spiritual life.
Our daughter, who is seventeen and living at home, has a boyfriend who is nineteen. He wants to move out on his own and experience something new. What would be your advice/approach when dealing with them spending time together alone at his new place, going over to visit, watch movies, etc. Although they have given us no reason to not trust them, I am having problems giving permission to this "alone” time.
Dear Concerned Parent,
Different parents will give different advice in these circumstances, but you aren’t crazy for having concerns. The important thing is to be able to explain things to your daughter and her boyfriend in biblical terms. Whatever your decision is, if you can give Scripture for your feelings, it will take the trust issues out of the picture. As you said, it isn’t about these two trustworthy young people; it is about the natural temptations and passions of youth. So here are some verses that can be used in your discussions:
- God says that it is natural and normal for young people to be attracted to one another (1 Cor 7:9). This is a natural part of the romance process, but it is also important for them to not put themselves in a position where this attraction can lead to regrettable decisions in the heat of the moment.
- The Song of Solomon is a poetic book of the Bible devoted to romantic love. The chorus of that song says, “don’t awaken or stir up love until he pleases” (Songs 3:5). God’s warning to those in the courtship process is to not force things and not to go too fast. The goal is to slow down and get to know the person… the risk of spending copious amounts of time alone is that the relationship begins to speed up in all the wrong ways.
- A reputation is a difficult thing to build but an easy thing to destroy. Your daughter and her boyfriend currently have good reputations, which are more valuable than riches (Pr 22:1). Part of your job as parents is to help protect their good name. When a young woman spends a lot of time at a single man’s apartment… it looks a certain way. This is worth explaining to them.
You will need to decide what conversation to have with your daughter and her boyfriend when and if he gets an apartment, but those are some Bible verses to help provide context to the ground rules you will set.
What happens to a child that dies shortly after birth? And what comforting words can I tell a mother and father whose child died after being born?
Dear Empathetic Friend,
There are no words that can remove the pain that a parent feels when they lose a child – their grieving hearts know a pain that is all their own (Pr 14:10). There is a grieving process that they must go through (read “Great Grief” for details on what the Bible says on grieving).
However, you can know beyond a shadow of a doubt that the baby is in Paradise with God. King David settled that question when his son died. David was in great distress and sorrow because his child was sick and dying (2 Sam 12:16-17). Yet, when the baby died, David stopped his distress and fasting (2 Sam 12:19-20). When David’s astonished servants asked him why he was better considering the child just passed away, David simply said, “I shall go to him, but he will not return to me.” (2 Sam 12:22-23) David was keenly aware that all children go to heaven. You can confidently tell any grieving parent that their baby is in the arms of a loving Father.
I would like to know where all of God’s beautiful, four-legged creatures go when they die. My grandson asked me this question right after his dog died. Of course, I told him his dog went to heaven to be with God and is waiting for him... but the truth of the matter is, I don't really know where his dog went to! I was always told that dogs and cats don't have souls, so if that's true... where would they go?
Grammy Grief Counselor
Dear Grammy Grief Counselor,
Animals are a blessing from God, and your grandson’s fondness for his dog is shared by animal lovers the world ‘round. Animals have the “breath of life” just like humans do (Gen 2:7, Gen 6:17). This “breath of life” is also sometimes referred to as the “spirit” of a man or animal (Gen 7:22). Animals have spirits, and humans have spirits, but humans were also made in the image of God (Gen 1:26). Our spirits are eternal and will go up to be with the Father, and animal spirits are temporary and will return to the dust of the earth (Eccl 3:21). God made our spirit of a different caliber than He made those of the animal. Dogs don’t go to heaven, but we can feel confident that God has decided wisely on this issue like all others. We may not always understand His reasons, but He always makes good decisions.
My son suffers from OCD, and in trying to deal with it, he tries to make deals with God. For example, he said he made the deal that if he gave in to the problem, then God can let the devil taint his xBox. Now, he won't play at all because he gave in and believes God has allowed his xBox to be tainted by the devil. I've told him God doesn't work that way, but he won’t believe me. Is there a biblical Scripture I can show him that will prove to him that God doesn't make deals?
Dear Perturbed Parent,
A little less time on the xBox isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but believing the devil has infected your electronics is probably a problem. All joking aside, the best verse to cover this issue with your son is Matt 4:5-7. When the devil tempted Jesus by taking Him to the top of the temple and daring Jesus to throw Himself down and prove that God could take care of Him, Jesus responded by saying, “Do not test the Lord your God”. God makes the rules, not us (Isa 33:22). Explain to your son that being faithful means that we trust God’s Bible. It is God’s will that will be done, not ours (Jas 4:14). God decides what our punishments will be, not us.