Ask Your Preacher
Am I awesome?
An awesome God made you in His image and that is some awe-inspiring news. Here is some more:
God says that Christians are His people, an elect race, and a royal priesthood (1 Pet 2:9). Christians have a hope of heaven as their anchor (Heb 6:19). You don’t get much more awesome than being on your way to heaven and a chosen child of God!
There are some things that I can't comprehend. I'm having to watch my mom slowly die of cancer. Why would a loving God put my family through this? If God is so great and powerful, why won't He heal her? She is the only parent my siblings and I have ever had. Please help me to make sense of it all.
Child In Distress
Dear Child In Distress,
Life here on this planet is full of heartaches, and we here at AYP cannot imagine how devastated you are right now. This world is full of all sorts of disease, pain, violence, and strife – but God didn’t cause those things, sin did. All bad things are a result of sin. When God made the world, He placed mankind in the Garden of Eden and gave us a joyously blissful existence in that paradise. Who caused the pain? We did. It is sin that has brought all of the death, disease, decay, pain, suffering, troubles, and heartaches into our world. We all, in varying degrees, are reaping the benefits of a world with sin in it. Sickness is a consequence of Adam and Eve’s sin in the Garden of Eden. One of the curses of their sin was that we all must face our own mortality – life is finite. Sickness, disease, and pain are a part of the human existence. Sadly, this is true even for our children. When God gave us freewill, He gave us the right to cause problems for ourselves and others, and if He simply removed all the consequences for our actions, He would be removing our freedoms as well.
Sometimes bad things simply happen because they happen. Job suffered greatly, and his children died, but it wasn’t his (or their) fault. Job hadn’t done anything wrong, nor had his kids. It all happened because Satan wanted to do evil (Job 1:6). As long as we live in this world of sin, there will be troubles. Sometimes, there isn’t anyone at fault… just time and chance wreaking havoc in a sinful world (Eccl 9:11).
Regardless of the reasons, your mother’s illness is devastating to you – and rightfully so. You have every right to be hurt, but don’t let that hurt cause you to turn your back on God who wants to save us all from this sinful world. After all, God gave His Son’s life for us – He knows how painful this is for you and knows exactly how to give you comfort through this dark hour.
I had a dream of the Lord last night. He called me to Him and held me in His arms for a while. I could even smell His hair in my dream. He said to me that the lion will soon lay down with the lamb. Could you explain that?
The days of dreams and visions have passed. In the past, God spoke to various people through dreams, visions, and prophecy, but today He speaks to us through His Son, Jesus Christ (Heb 1:1-2). Now that we have the complete and perfect Bible – there is no need for God to give people individual dreams or visions. It is through the Word of God that we learn how to live faithfully (Rom 10:17).
We are sure that your dream means something, but it doesn’t mean anything supernatural or prophetic. What you had was not a vision. Prophets have visions, and there are no more prophets since we have the perfect and complete Word of God (1 Cor 13:8-10). The human mind is a complex and wondrous thing (Ps 139:14). It is perfectly normal for our minds to make mental connections as we pray, study, sleep, etc. Those mental images aren’t visions; they are just your own thoughts as your mind meditates upon what you have said, read, or heard.
John 13:34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one.”
How then can anyone justify the hate of gays, gay marriage, Muslims, Jews, etc. Are we not all God's children? Should we not treat all of these people as our equals, respect their beliefs, and engage them with love? Similarly, how can Christians be against gay marriage "because the Bible condemns it"… yet the Bible does not condemn slavery (Exodus 21:2-6), however we know that it is wrong.
Full Of Love
Dear Full Of Love,
The Bible does teach to love, and there is no justification for hating homosexuals, Muslims, Jews, etc. However, the Bible also says that love rejoices in the truth (1 Cor 13:6). Biblical love doesn’t find happiness when people are lost and living lives of sin. The Bible teaches that those who don’t accept Jesus as the Son of God are lost (Jhn 14:6), and it teaches that homosexuality is sinful (Rom 1:26-27), and it teaches that the only moral definition of marriage is between one man and one woman (1 Cor 7:2).
People have always used the Bible to justify hate and wickedness, but that doesn’t make it right. In like manner, people who simply say, “Love and forget about the rules” are wrong, too.
As far as slavery, the Bible doesn’t condemn slavery, but it does condemn abuse, and it does say that it is better to be free than enslaved (1 Cor 7:21). God also deals with how people can live in a world where slavery does exist… hence, verses like Col 3:22. Slavery was, and is, a reality in many parts of the world, a reality that doesn’t go away once people become Christians. How a slave should behave toward their master is a down-to-earth, practical, moral question for many, many people. The fact that we Americans don’t have to deal with such dilemmas anymore is a blessing, but the Bible wasn’t just written for Americans.
What do you, and more importantly, God, think about claiming contribution on tax returns? This is something I can't seem to figure out.
Dear Tax Time,
Jesus answered all tax questions when He said, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and render to God the things that are God’s” (Mk 12:17). What Jesus meant was that the government decides what you do with its money… after all, it is called U.S. currency for a reason (in Jesus’ day, it was Caesar’s face minted on the coins). Christians have a responsibility to pay whatever taxes the government says they should pay. That also means we don’t have to pay taxes if the government says we don’t have to – if Caesar doesn’t want it back, that’s his choice! In the United States of America, we are allowed to claim our charitable contributions on our taxes. It is legal to do so, and it is allowed by God to take advantage of that luxury as long as we have it.