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GOD

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The Last Season

Sunday, July 01, 2012
I had asked you a few months ago, basically, how many times someone can ask for forgiveness.

Well, now I am asking you a different question.

I got diagnosed this year with cancer.  They also think there might be a tumor in my brain (which they are currently diagnosing).  Sometimes, when I allow myself to feel, I feel like I can't seem to keep things together.  I am at a loss.  I am not scared to die, but I am scared of dying without completing my purpose.  I am so scared of dying without feeling like I helped others or have done something with my life.

On one side, I am grateful to have a timeline and to have time to somehow do the most I can with it.  On the other side, I am still going through the processes of grief (denial, anger, depression, etc.).  Some days it seems like I'm fine, and other days I just want to break down and cry.

I am so grateful for the time to appreciate my loved ones and life and very, very appreciative of the time to further my spiritual belief… while at other times, I feel lost.  I feel completely alone.  I cannot burden those around me with my thoughts and feelings.  The only thing that's kept me alive through all my suffering has been the thought that I had this great purpose, this life-changing purpose.  And to be told that I will die soon, I feel as though I fooled myself.  I never achieved anything, only failed.  I feel like a complete failure.  I know God hasn't deserted me, but yet, I feel like I have failed.  I have failed in everything, and now I am dying.  It's my worst fear, to die without a purpose.  Please help me.  I have no one else.  Thank you.

Sincerely,
Near The End

Dear Near The End,

The apostle Paul once said that God sets the seasons of our lives and the boundaries of our habitation on this planet (Acts 17:26).  Life is finite for all of us, but when we read of struggles like yours, it makes that knowledge fresh again.  Thank you for having the courage to share your heartache and struggles with us.

Nobody is perfect, and it isn’t fair to measure your life by your failures… that isn’t how God does it.  Jesus was impressed by great faith, not perfect faith (Lk 7:9).  Jesus marveled at the humility of the woman that had the courage to reach out for help (Matt 15:25-28)… it wasn’t her perfect life; it was her humble plea for help that caught His attention.

Your purpose in life may not be what you thought it was, but God has a way of using us to do His work in the most unexpected ways (Esther is a good example of this – Esther 4:14).  This sickness may allow you to learn things and touch lives in ways you never imagined… you’ve certainly touched ours.  Be faithful, and the Lord will use you.  A life lived for the Lord, no matter how long, is never wasted.  You are in our thoughts and prayers.

The Indwelling

Thursday, June 28, 2012
     My question is in reference to the Holy Spirit.  Do all people who are truly saved have the Holy Spirit?  Will you go to hell if you don't have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit?  How do you know for sure that you have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit if you don't speak in tongues?

Sincerely,
God In Me?

Dear God In Me,

The gifts of the Holy Spirit that allowed people to perform miracles (like speaking in tongues) were received through the direct laying on of hands of the apostles (Acts 8:17-18). These gifts of the Holy Spirit no longer exist because they ended with the last person that the last apostle laid his hands upon.

Christians do have the Holy Spirit dwell in them (Rom 8:9) – but not literally. The Holy Spirit dwells in Christians in the same metaphorical way that Christ dwells in Christians (Rom 8:10). The Holy Spirit and Jesus do not physically dwell inside Christians miraculously. They dwell within Christians in a figurative way because a Christian’s life follows the path the Holy Spirit and Christ set for them.

The Holy Spirit dwells in those that follow the Bible and put to death their previous sinful lifestyles (Rom 8:12-14). The Holy Spirit gave us the Bible, and when we follow it, we are led by the Spirit (read “What The Holy Spirit Does” for further details). Those who are led by the Spirit are sons of God, and the Spirit dwells in them (Rom 8:14-16).

If you would like more information on this topic, we have an entire series of sermons on the Holy Spirit that can be downloaded or viewed by clicking here.

Fresh Start

Monday, June 25, 2012
     I did a very bad thing today.  I was baptized about two years ago.  I made a promise to God that I would never go to the strip club again.  I haven’t in two years until, on my birthday, my friend sidetracked me to go.  I felt so horrible about going and that I let God down.  I knew it was wrong and still went anyways.  My question is: I know the Bible only says one baptism, but I will feel a lot better if I get re-baptized, so I can start clean and find new friends.

Sincerely,
Ashamed

Dear Ashamed,

Good for you for recognizing the sin, accepting that you need to start clean, and realizing you need to find friends that strengthen you, not corrupt you (1 Cor 15:33).  In your newfound effort to do what God says, let’s start with baptism.  As you said, if you were already baptized, the Bible teaches that once is enough.  It is important to do what God says in all areas of our life.  You may feel like you need to be re-baptized, but you also felt like you needed to go to that club with your friend.  Feelings are fickle; the Bible is steady.  Go ahead and make that fresh start and find those new friends.  No need to find water.

Faith In Motion

Friday, June 15, 2012
Hey, I have a question: my girlfriend thinks she can just pray, and God will do everything for her, but I know there is a verse in the Bible that says you have to work and pray God will lead you.  But where is that at?

Sincerely,
Not Lazy

Dear Not Lazy,

God once told Israel that He had great plans for them, plans for a future and a hope (Jer 29:11), but He also said that they wouldn’t see those plans until they sought Him with all their hearts (Jer 29:13).
  God molds our lives when we prepare ourselves to be used by Him.  Paul once told the young preacher, Timothy, that he needed to be a vessel prepared to be used by God (2 Tim 2:21).  When we live faithfully by God’s Word (Rom 10:17) and prepare our lives to be useful to Him, God guarantees that He has great things in store for us.

Enduring Evil

Tuesday, April 24, 2012
     Where was God during the Holocaust?  Why do we teach our children to pray and tell them prayers will be answered when thousands of children prayed every day during this horrible time without an answer?

Sincerely,
Aghast

Dear Aghast,

When God created the universe, He made everything good (Gen 1:31).  The world didn’t have disease, thorns, suffering, and all the other problems we see today.  Originally, Adam and Eve lived in the perfect paradise of the Garden of Eden (Gen 2:8).  It is only after Adam and Eve were cast from the Garden because of their sin that all the problems we see today began. All suffering is caused by mankind and sin.

When God made the world, He made it to be good – it was sin that destroyed that perfect vision.  All wickedness and evil brings pain to God and grieves Him and He will only endure it for so long.  In Noah’s day, God saw all the violence that was in the world and it made Him deeply sad (Gen 6:5-6).  God gives mankind the freedom to make our own choices, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t pain Him to see the evil upon this earth.  God tells us that the only reason He endures it is because He is longsuffering and desiring to give as many people as possible the chance to repent and turn to Him (2 Pet 3:9).

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