Ask Your Preacher
I’ve made some mistakes in the past that I’m ashamed of. Society reminds me everyday of my actions, and makes it hard for me to forgive myself, especially when I know they haven’t forgiven me. I feel ashamed and worthless. What can I do to erase my past?
Can’t Get Past the Past
Dear Can’t Get Past the Past,
You can't erase your past, but you can change your future… but that isn't the real issue. The real problem is that you don’t feel forgiven. The two issues are very different. There are times when our head and our heart aren’t on the same page. Guilt can drive someone crazy if they don’t learn to keep things in proper perspective. God says that your heart can be wrong. It is very similar to the problem that the apostle Paul faced. Paul had murdered Christians and felt that he was the worst of the worst, but he learned that Jesus would forgive him (1 Tim 1:15-16).
The apostle John said it best, “By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before Him, for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and He knows everything.” (1 Jhn 3:19-20) Your act of faith is going to be letting go of your fears and trusting that living by God’s Word is what matters (Rom 10:17)… not what society thinks of you.
Why do we have people with different colors of skin?
Dear Color Blind,
We all came from Adam and Eve (Gen 3:20). Eventually, mankind was scattered across the whole earth after the Tower of Babel (Gen 11:9). Different races were created as these scattered groups became more isolated. This is very similar to how you see parents and children looking alike – they share noticeable physical traits because they are closely related. The groups that were scattered from the Tower of Babel were isolated by their language differences, and therefore only married amongst their specific language group. This isolated intermarrying created distinct physical characteristics that differentiated one group from another (i.e. skin color, eye shape, face shape, hair color). The different races of the world are nothing more than large family groups created after the Tower of Babel.
I'm hoping you might be able to help me in something that has been bothering me a lot, and one of my New Year’s resolutions is to take care of this major concern: I feel that until I am prepared to show someone what God says they need to do to be saved, I'm not doing one of the most important things He asks of me. I've seen outlines for teaching someone the plan of salvation, but nothing I can put in my purse. Are there, say, ten verses that include most everything I might need in order show someone God's plan of salvation – something I might be able to memorize and possibly make into a small handout in case the opportunity arises? Seems like the subject of God comes up when least expected, and I want to be prepared to share my faith. I would greatly appreciate your assistance.
Ready To Be Ready
Dear Ready To Be Ready,
What a great New Year’s resolution! Everyone should try and be ready to explain why they believe what they do and be prepared to share God’s plan of salvation with others (1 Pet 3:15). Many people have the exact same problem that you have – trying to have something simple enough to have on hand and take with them.
A while back, we taught a class on how to teach people about Christ entitled “7 Questions For Your Soul”, and as part of that class, we made up a set of notes that could be printed off on sticker paper and put into the inside cover of your Bible; the whole thing fits on two pages of a standard-sized Bible and could easily be made small enough to fit into your purse. If you’d like, below is a .pdf copy of those notes. Feel free to use, distribute, and adjust as you see fit to help you be the most effective evangelist you can be!
Jesus will return in the same way He left true or false?
Dear Looking Up,
True. When Jesus ascended into the clouds from the Mount of Olives, His apostles were left staring into the heavens with amazement (Acts 1:9). As they gazed into the sky, two angels appeared by the apostles and told them that Jesus would someday return in the same way that they had seen Him leave (Acts 1:10-11). Some day, Jesus will return and we shall see Him physically descend from the heavens to claim His own (1 Thess 4:16-18).
Do you think it's wrong for a christian to celebrate the death of Osama bin Laden? I was ecstatic and thankful to God when I heard the news, but then someone showed me Prov 24:17.
There is a balance in the heart of a christian between rejoicing that evil has been vanquished and mourning over the death of a human being. There are plenty of examples of God’s people rejoicing in national victories. There is an entire song that was written when the Israelites celebrated the destruction and drowning of the Egyptian army in the Red Sea (Ex 15:1-21). There is always joy when the wicked are defeated (Pr 11:10). It is appropriate to be happy when evil is destroyed because it means righteousness is prevailing (Pr 28:28).
However, this also must be tempered with the fact that a human that was made in the image of God (Gen 1:27) perished. God says that it pains Him when the wicked perish (Ezek 18:23); we should also have that pain. There is a bittersweet emotion within the hearts of God’s people when an evil person dies. We rejoice that righteousness has prevailed, but we sorrow that a soul stained with sin has gone to face its Maker.