Ask Your Preacher
I have a friend who visits an astrologer or "psychic" and seems to put great stock in what this person says. I think it is a waste of time and money, but is it sinful? How about reading your horoscope?
Sincerely, Say It Ain’t Séance
Dear Say It Ain’t Séance,
Astrology, mysticism, séances, horoscopes, palm reading, etc. are all sinful. God condemned that behavior in the Old Testament (Isa 47:13-14). King Saul was put to death by God for seeking a woman that practices divining (1 Chr 10:13). Any Jew that was found visiting a ‘medium’ or ‘spiritist’ would be cut off from His people (Lev 20:6). In the New Testament, astrology is just as roundly condemned. Paul cast out an evil spirit that was fortune-telling (Acts 16:16-18). When someone became a christian, they confessed sorcery as evil, and many of them burned their books of the magical arts (Acts 19:18-20). If we want wisdom, we should seek it from God (Jas 1:5). All astrology, horoscopes, and the like are wrong.
I have been separated for almost nine years. My husband left me and is in another relationship. Recently, he attacked me in front of our eight year old and fractured my nose. I am filing for divorce now. I met a man in a Christian chat who is also separated, and his wife is seeing another man. He teaches youth in New Zealand as well lecturing in a Christian College there. He visited me once in March while in the USA. He now wants to come back in November to visit again. He plans on divorcing his wife in a little over a year, as their laws require a two year separation prior to divorce. Our relationship seems so godly since we haven't "sinned" - but I know I need counseling. I am seeking advice through you because I haven't told my pastor due to fear of being rejected by the church. Please help.
Sincerely, Seeking To Be Faithful
Dear Seeking To Be Faithful,
Your situation is a unique twist on an old problem, but the answer still remains the same – wait until you are both not married. It sounds like you both have legitimate reasons for seeking divorce from your current spouses. The only reason God ever allows for divorce is when adultery has occurred (Matt 5:32); sadly both of your spouses have done that. However, you are not officially divorced yet. Though it is unlikely that you will reconcile with your current spouses, you are still married. If you begin dating, you will be dating a married man, and he will be dating a married woman. That looks bad to everyone else, thus tainting your relationship in the eyes of others (Rom 12:17). Furthermore, it doesn’t just look bad – it is bad.
Since you have an eight-year-old, as a parent, you understand how quickly time goes by. In a year and a half, both of your lives will have changed dramatically, and you will be in an appropriate situation to decide whether to date each other. Even you admit that you need counseling as you go through a very difficult divorce. Your life and mind are not in a good position to be entering the dating world even if it were appropriate. There is a time for everything under the sun; now is a time to focus on picking up the pieces… not building new relationships (Eccl 3:1-8).
I am currently engaged to the woman I know I will spend the rest of my life with, but her and I are unaware of the limits we have sexually. Since we are going to be married and truly have no desire to be with anyone else, is there anything in the Bible that says we shouldn't be able to have sex?
Sincerely, Can’t Wait To Be Married
Dear Can’t Wait To Be Married,
There is a lot in the Bible that says you shouldn’t have sex until you are married. Gen 2:24 shows that marriage is the point where you are allowed to become one flesh. 1 Cor 7:2 points out that it is considered fornication unless you are married. If you sleep together before marriage, it is wrong.
Since you are truly committed to each other, then commit to waiting until you are married. Otherwise, find yourself a Justice of the Peace and get married now. If you have to choose between waiting to marry while being consumed by lust and getting married a little earlier but being legitimate in the eyes of God – get married (1 Cor 7:9).
Over the years, I have downloaded music off of the internet for my family and myself. I know that within the past few years that the laws have gotten stricter on that subject. I am not sure how many songs I have that would be consider "not legal" due to all of the rules. Also, I know that years ago almost everyone would use tape recorders to record music off of the radio, and no one really ever said anything about that. I was thinking of deleting everything that I have. I do not want to break God’s law, but the more I think about it, I know that it would be near impossible to figure out what would be "legal" and what would not be. I hate to lose my songs that I grew up on. I was thinking that I would just not download any more unless I was sure that it was legal and just keep what I have now. Is that okay? I am so confused because I also have a bad case of "OCD" that makes me think about things too much. I want to do what God wants. Would God really want me to delete everything or just be careful from now on and keep what I have because I would not be able to separate the legal from the non-legal? Also, with the way laws are, what is legal today will not be legal tomorrow, so it is like a never-ending battle keeping up with it. I don't care about the law of this world; I only care about God's law.
Sincerely, Soundly Confused
Dear Soundly Confused,
Pirated music is definitely illegal, and you are right in being concerned about the morality of it. If you were stealing the CDs from a retail store, you would return them no matter how much work it took. We must keep in mind that just because it is more socially acceptable to steal music through online sites, that doesn’t make it any less of a moral issue.
The first and most important thing is that you steal no more (Eph 4:28). You have already committed to this, and it is commendable. After that, you must deal with the rest of your music collection in a way that allows you to feel comfortable legally and have a clear conscience. If you have any songs that you know are illegal – delete them. This also means that if someone makes you aware at a later date that some of your music is pirated, you should be ready to delete it then. Take the attitude of Zacchaeus who was ready to make restitution for his past wrongs whenever possible (Lk 19:8). It is true that government regulations are always changing, but we are still bound by them (Rom 13:1-2).
You also mentioned that you are “OCD” on this subject. That is probably a sign that your conscience is bothered by you having this music. If you can’t do something in faith, it is sin (Rom 14:23). It is very important that we keep a clear conscience in all that we do (Acts 23:1). If you are bothered by the music collection, it is better to delete it all and suffer a loss than to keep it (Matt 18:8-9). It may feel like a drastic choice, but it would be well worth the loss of both your legal and illegal music if it purified your conscience (1 Pet 2:19).
What are the rules for remarrying if you are a widow? If a woman is past child-bearing age and wants to marry again, is this okay?
Mind Your Maritals
Dear Mind Your Maritals,
It is perfectly all right for a widow to remarry after her spouse’s death. In fact, God encourages it. The apostle Paul told widows, especially young widows, to remarry and start a new life (1 Tim 5:14). God wants us to move on after the death of a loved one. Mourning is a very important process that shouldn’t be neglected, but the time for mourning isn’t forever (Eccl 3:4). There are no age restrictions on a widow remarrying. If someone is widowed, death has ended her marriage contract, and she is free to pursue matrimony again (1 Cor 7:39).