Ask Your Preacher
What does it mean when God comes into your mind and thoughts?
It depends on what you mean by “God comes into your mind…” If what you mean by that statement is that you begin thinking about God, then it means that you are doing a good thing! It is a wonderful thing when people dwell upon God, the Bible, and every good and pure thing (Php 4:8). That is how we renew our minds, so we become the people we ought (Rom 12:2).
On the other hand, if what you mean by that statement is that you believe God is controlling your mind directly from heaven… that is an entirely different subject. The days of dreams, visions, and prophecy 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, divine messages. It is through the Word of God that we learn how to live faithfully (Rom 10:17). God simply doesn’t directly speak to us anymore.
Can God read minds?
What Am I Thinking?
Dear What Am I Thinking,
God is the only one to be noted to have the ability to see into our hearts (Acts 1:24) and read our minds (Lk 11:17). Yes, God can read your mind.
I have a friend who wants to leave my church, but I think she really needs it. She thinks a lot of the people there (mostly the youth) are fake and gossipy and says it "turns her off for God." I don't blame her. She always wants to leave as soon as service is over. How can I help her?
Seeing Her Waver
Dear Seeing Her Waver,
Christianity is work… that is exactly why a lot of people don’t obey God. God tells us we must hear and do what His Word says (Jas 1:22). We do what we love, and we do things for those we love. If we love God, we will keep His commandments (Jhn 14:15). It is a myth that all Christians love to go to services and love to read their Bibles. The truth is that every faithful Christian we know has had to work very hard to build the habits of attendance, study, and active participation in the Lord’s work – sometimes in spite of those around them. It is a lifelong commitment. The apostle Paul compares it to physical training. An athlete exercises their body to win the race, even when they are tired or in pain… we need to do the same with our spiritual exercise (1 Cor 9:24-27). These are the things we would talk to your friend about. Php 2:12 says that we have to each work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. If the only reason you are attending services is because of the people... you are doing it for the wrong reasons. People can certainly make it more enjoyable, but ultimately, you must do what's right regardless of others.
I have been going through a lot lately, and for the most part, it’s my fault. I recently lost my job, and I had to move out of my apartment into a cheaper one (which I still don’t know how I’m going to pay for because I still haven’t found another job). I’m starting to feel depressed and lonely; the sad part is that I still haven’t even told my family about the job loss. I really don’t want anyone judging me. I have two questions I would like to ask. First question: does God forgive you for making the same mistake over and over again even when you know it’s wrong? I know that I shouldn’t do certain things, but I do anyway; that’s what gets me into trouble. Second question: I feel really horrible about the things I have done, and I just don’t know what to do with myself; am I supposed to feel this way? I just want to start fresh and make things right with God, so I may live a happy and blessed life.
Want A Do-Over
Dear Want A Do-Over,
There are two pieces to the puzzle of repetitive sins:
- How many times can I ask for forgiveness for the same sin?
- How do I remove this sin from my life, so I can start living without guilt, fear, and pain?
The answer to the first part is simple. You can ask for forgiveness an innumerable amount of times. Christ told Peter that we should forgive ‘seventy times seven’ (Matt 18:21-22). Paul was forgiven of his sins even after killing christians and actively persecuting the church (1 Tim 1:16). As often as we truly repent, God is ready to forgive (Lk 17:4). It is quite possible to truly repent of something and then find yourself doing that same thing not minutes later. It happens in arguments all the time! You say something mean, apologize, then find yourself upset again, and again use rash words. The repeating of the cycle is not necessarily an indication of false sorrow.
However, the second part of your question deals with stopping this cycle. God will forgive you for stumbling again into the same sin, but only if you are truly attempting to change your mind. Paul reminds us that we are to do everything we can to flee from the slavery to sin (Rom 6:1-2, Rom 6:12-13). Without knowing what sin you are caught up in, I can’t give specific advice, but I recommend getting help if it is as consuming as you say. Many sins can become addictions that are very hard to break. Here are some things to consider:
- Are you trying to change all on your own? God says two are stronger than one (Eccl 4:9-10). In the case of sin like pornography, many people try and struggle through it alone without seeking help because of the shame involved in it becoming known. This rarely, if ever, works. Telling someone, even just one trusted friend, and using things like Covenant Eyes accountability software can make all the difference in such circumstances.
- Are you putting yourself in compromising situations? People with drug and alcohol addictions are often tempted back into their old habits by drinking buddies or parties where drugs are made available. You may need to cut off certain people and habits from your life in order to escape that sort of sin. Remember, Christ said it would be better to remove even your own hand if it would free you from a sin (Matt 5:30).
Removing sin from our lives is a constant struggle. God is ready to forgive you ‘seventy times seven’ as you fight to defeat sin, but you must look yourself in the mirror and make sure you are taking the steps necessary to change your life.
My sister is VERY angry, angry at God over a health condition because she has asked many, many times to be healed, had people pray over her many times, has not been healed, and now has to go through surgery. If she were (God forbid) to die before having that resolved, if ever, would she still go to heaven? She still believes there is a God and became a born-again many years ago. She definitely has changed her beliefs about a lot of biblical things that were taught her through the years, but I am really wondering about this. I wonder what God and Jesus think, knowing how angry she is. And what if she even called God a name that was not nice? That came out of her pain and fear, I know. Thank you.
Dear Suffering Sibling,
It is questions like these that make us very thankful that we don’t have to do God’s job. God is the final judge, not us (Heb 12:23), so we can’t specifically tell you whether or not your sister will go to heaven. We are warned against bitterness and wrath (Eph 4:31); there is no doubt that it is a sin to live with hate in your heart for anyone… especially God. However, no one goes to heaven based upon sinless living; we go to heaven based upon our faith in Jesus Christ (Jhn 14:6). Your sister’s eternal fate will depend upon whether or not she has allowed her anger to turn her away from God or whether she is faithful, but struggles, with this attitude problem.