Ask Your Preacher
Thank you for answering my past questions. I would like to ask another one please. I have wanted so badly to change things in my life to overall happiness, to a fulfilling job, having friends, a relationship, etc. I pray all the time and ask for these things and trust that God will show me the way. I have been praying for about ten years now and still remain stuck in life and in pain. After a while, I feel like maybe God wants me to search on my own to make a change. I then look for answers on my own as well and fail time after time, becoming so discouraged. Either way, I am unable to make a change with or without God’s help. How do I know if He wants me to stop trying so hard or to look for answers on my own? Is it His plan that I struggle all my life or that I just accept my life and be thankful for what it is? I'm confused because I've always thought of Matthew 7:7. Thank you.
Matt 7:7 (and more specifically Matt 7:9-11) teaches that if we seek God, He will provide… but it doesn’t mean He will provide for us in the ways we expect. Sometimes children ask their parents for a cookie, and the parents give them broccoli instead because what the child really needs is healthy calories, not junk food. God provides in a very similar manner. He knows what we really need, and sometimes He answers our requests in unexpected ways.
In 1 Tim 6:6, the apostle Paul explained that trusting in God combined with an attitude of contentment yields great gains. Sometimes, our lives are already blessed; we just fail to count those blessings. If every door seems to be shut, then the answer may be to find peace where you are. We aren’t clairvoyant, so we can’t tell you why God hasn’t had things change in your life, but we can tell you that there are blessings hidden in life if we will accept His will above our own. Sometimes, life seems like just a struggle, but we forget that God is disciplining us for our eternal good (Heb 12:6). We can guarantee you that all things work together for good for those who love the Lord, but that is only true when we accept His purposes for us (Rom 8:28).
Once you get saved, do you believe you can lose your salvation? I've read that once you’re saved, you’re forever saved, but I’ve also read that your name can be wiped from the Book.
How Safe Am I?
Dear How Safe Am I,
The Bible clearly says that you can lose your salvation. Heb 3:12 says that we must be wary and protect our hearts because an evil, unbelieving heart can fall away. 2 Pet 3:17 says that we can lose our salvation if we get caught up in false teaching (1 Tim 4:1 also states this). If we return to a life of ungodliness, then we crucify Christ again (Heb 6:4-6). Rev 2:10 says we must be faithful unto death if we wish to receive the heavenly prize.
If His eye is on the sparrow (Matt 6:26), how are we to feel and react to the amount of suffering in the world? I do not mean accidents or things that happen as a result of the free will of people – I'm thinking specifically of starvation, people who live with large families in small shacks, etc. If God feeds even the birds, why does He allow children to starve? How am I, as a Christian, supposed to reconcile this with the idea of a God who loves us and will care for us when we are in need?
God does keep a closer eye on us than He does the sparrows, but you must remember that Matt 10:29 says that even the sparrows that God cares for fall to the ground in death. Death is inevitable ever since Adam and Eve’s sin (Gen 2:17). We will all die, and sin’s destructive power is the source of all suffering.
You see, starving families are an act of mankind’s choices. All experts agree that there is more than enough food to feed the whole world – starvation is due to oppression from others, a lack of compassion for our fellow man, and countless other sinful behaviors. There is no valid reason for anyone to go hungry in this world – it is sin that causes all the harm we see to our fellow man.
God does watch over everyone, and He is intimately aware of every hair on our heads (Lk 12:7), but God must balance His love and desire to intercede for us with His promise to let us make our own choices and suffer the consequences (Gal 6:7). All the great tragedies we see in this world are consequences of mankind turning its back on God. From God’s standpoint, as horrible as it must be for Him to watch children suffer, He also knows that when children die, they go home to be comforted by Him.
I greet you with peace brother(s) in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. My question is: according to the Scriptures, shouldn't we be breaking the bread (off of the loaf) instead of using crackers? Also, should we be sharing one cup as the Word speaks of? I know this is an issue amongst the brotherhood; however, I wanted to know your thoughts. Thank you.
Dear Supper Stumped,
Let’s address the ‘one cup’ issue first. We should only use one cup… unless the Scriptures give us a reason to think that the one cup was an unimportant detail – which they do. Jesus stated that what is in the cup matters, not the cup itself (Matt 26:29). When Jesus took the cup, He gave thanks for the grape juice inside of the cup (Mk 14:23-24). The grape juice represents Christ’s blood; the cup does not. In fact, Jesus told the apostles to divide the juice among themselves (Lk 22:17). We don’t know how the apostles went about doing that. They may very well have poured the juice from Jesus’ cup into twelve other individual cups. When we use multiple cups to distribute the fruit of the vine for the Lord’s Supper, we are doing what Christ did… dividing the juice among all the believers who are going to remember Christ’s death.
As far as breaking the bread, good brethren are divided over whether or not it is an important detail to physically break the unleavened loaf. Unleavened bread is flat because it doesn’t have the yeast to make it rise – like a cracker. Some brethren think it is required to break the bread; other folks point to Scriptures that use the term “break the bread” as a colloquialism to generically refer to any meal. It is best not to be too dogmatic because there is no way to know definitively.
Would you explain "once in grace, always in grace"?
The idea that you can’t ever lose your salvation is a warping of Christ’s message in Jhn 10:27-29. “Once saved, always saved” (sometimes referred to as “once in grace, always in grace”) is a basic doctrine of Calvinism (read “Calvin And Sobs” for more details on the errors of Calvinism). The Bible clearly says that you can lose your salvation. Heb 3:12 says that we must be wary and protect our hearts because an evil, unbelieving heart can fall away. 2 Pet 3:17 says that we can lose our salvation if we get caught up in false teaching (1 Tim 4:1 also states this). If we return to a life of ungodliness, then we crucify Christ again (Heb 6:4-6).