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Chariots Of Fire

Thursday, March 12, 2020
     I'm looking for a passage in the Bible I think I read some time ago.  It's where someone's eyes were opened to the spirit world of angels and demons and spiritual warfare.  Can you tell me where this is found?  Or did I just imagine it?

Sincerely,
Looking Around

Dear Looking Around,

The story you are most likely thinking of is Elisha praying that his servant’s eyes would be opened, so he might see the angelic army protecting them.  In 2 Kgs 6:14-15, the king of Syria sent an entire army to surround the city and capture Elisha, and his servant turned to him in fear and asked what they should do.  Elisha told him that there was nothing to fear for those who were with them were greater than the Syrian army (2 Kgs 6:16).  Elisha prayed that God would open his eyes, so he could see the chariots of fire and heavenly horseman protecting them (2 Kgs 6:17-18).

Spouse First

Wednesday, March 11, 2020
     I am engaged to be married, but I have a lot of friends of the opposite sex.  Should I stop my relationships with men I have known half my life, so he does not question my faithfulness to him?  What does the Bible say about opposite sex friendships… friendships that are purely platonic?

Sincerely,
Friendly

Dear Friendly,

The Bible never says that men and women can’t be friends, but it does give some warnings to remain above reproach.  Being above reproach is a qualification for an elder (Tit 1:6) and something we should all strive for.  To be ‘above reproach’ means to make sure that your behavior is clearly appropriate and honorable in the sight of all (2 Cor 8:21).

When Christians interact with others of the opposite gender, we are to behave in a way that shows all purity (1 Tim 5:1-2).  When you are engaged, your relationships with others of the opposite gender change because your stage of life has changed.  That doesn’t mean that you can’t still do things with men… but you need to be looking at how to have those relationships in a healthy way that incorporates your soon-to-be husband – that may or may not be possible.  If it does come down to choosing between your marriage and others… your marriage will always come first (Eph 5:31).

Something Old, Something New

Tuesday, March 10, 2020
     I am a member of a local church (thought to be very small and very unwelcoming by some).  They’re all older people, and they always say that they are "old Christians" in comparison to what they think of my family and I, "new Christians".  They act like they know more about the Bible and the way everything should be because they’re older Christians.  And we don't know that much because we're new… which we’re not.  My family and I have been Christians for a very long time, and I try to read and study the Bible everyday.  My question is: is it biblical to call someone or say someone is a "new Christian"?  I know it feels like they're cutting me down; I think, and correct me if I'm wrong, but aren’t we all the same in God’s eyes?  Thank you so much.  God bless.

Sincerely,
Not That New

Dear Not That New,

The Bible does talk about novice Christians (1 Tim 3:6) and those who, through diligence and time, have become pillars in the church (Gal 2:9)… but they are supposed to be a blessing to each other, not a rivalry.  Paul told Timothy to not let anyone look down on his youth but to show himself an example of faithful living (1 Tim 4:12).  Paul admonished Timothy to treat the older saints with respect and the younger Christians as brothers and sisters (1 Tim 5:1-2).  A congregation that forgets that age and youth are both needed in their own right is soon to fall upon hard times.

To-Do List

Monday, March 09, 2020
God bless you, brethren.  First off, I would like to thank you for allowing yourselves to be used by the Lord.  Your insights and biblical knowledge are encouraging, helpful, and refreshing.  My question today is the following:

How should we, biblically, spend our time each day?  I know in one verse, we are told to "pray without ceasing".  What I understand from that is we should be praying all the time.  What else does the Bible say we should do throughout the day?

Sincerely,
Day Planner

Dear Day Planner,

There is no way we can cover all the things that we should do in our lives in one short AYP answer… after all, the answer to that question is an entire lifetime full of sermons.  However, here are some generic things that we are told to constantly do.

  1. Show gratitude to God.  We are told to always pray with gratitude (Php 4:6), and since we are told to pray all the time, that means we should always seek to count our blessings and be thankful for the life we have.  Rejoicing is a characteristic of a godly life (1 Thess 5:16).
  2. We are told to forgive others (Matt 6:12) and to never render evil for evil (1 Thess 5:15).  We should seek to do good and overcome evil with goodness (Rom 12:21).  By forgiving our debtors and leaving vengeance to God, we live as God intends.
  3. We are to be the lights of the world (Matt 5:14).  God expects Christians to be enduring examples to mankind.  We are told to always be prepared to give an answer for the hope that is in us (1 Pet 3:15).  God wants us to change the world around us and bring the message of Christ to a dying world.
  4. Col 3:17 says that whatever we do, in word or deed, should be done for the glory of God.  Live your life avoiding sin and embracing godliness.

As we said, these are simply generic goals, and there are more to be sure, but these four are enough to keep most of us busy!

A Little Faith

Friday, March 06, 2020
     I'm trusting in God to help me out of a difficult financial situation, but since faith without works is dead, how can I materialize my faith?  Thanks.

Sincerely,
Faithful

Dear Faithful,

You need to do your best to be faithful with what you have.  God tells us to be good stewards of whatever we have been given, and this includes our money (Matt 25:21).  Since you are in a difficult financial situation, there is a lot that is out of your control, but what money you do have, show yourself to be faithful with it.  There is a tendency to “go off the deep end” when things begin to unravel financially.  Remember that he who is faithful in little is also faithful in much (Lk 16:10).  God doesn’t care about the dollar amount; He cares about your attitude toward it.  With what you have, be a faithful and good steward.  After that, prayerfully leave the rest in the hands of the Lord.

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