Ask me anything
Keep your eyes on Christ and the truth he says about you in His word. This is something I think all girls will struggle with for most of their lives, and guys too. I have learned that once I forget about me and my problems and focus on living a life fully for Christ, all the doubts and lies from the enemy that I have believed fall away.
What we need to know is who God is and what He has done in us. God esteems you highly. He delights in you. He loves you. You're a treasure, you're a jewel to HIm. You are precious in His sight. Just look at what God has done in your heart. You're a new creation in Christ. You're redeemed, justified, sanctified, glorified. You've been bless with all spiritual blessings in the heavenly in Christ.
You may have heard it all before that God loves you. But He really does.
You are special - really. You are no 'accident'. You are not just loved, but beloved and treasured by God. You are so wanted. You are reading this now because God is calling you. You were created by this powerful, intelligent being - God. You were thought about, designed and have been desired by God your whole life.
Have you ever looked at the stars in wonder and felt something, and wondered what life is about? Have you never been in awe of this amazing and beautiful planet we live on. Yet don't you see how broken,unfair and unjust this world we live in is? A goodness exists as does an evil.
Jesus came into this world to reveal God to us.
God has dwelt on Earth among us.
Think about it.
Jesus said of Himself that He is God. He stated that He is the way, the life and the truth. Jesus gave us no other option to find God, except through Him.
Please investigate Him. He was either a liar, crazy or telling the truth. All but one of His 12 disciples were killed because of their testimony and faith in Christ. They were eyewitnesses. Who dies for a lie? They testified of what they saw and heard. Jesus' other followers were persecuted in terrible ways, who endures that for a lie? Jesus acted openly, He was always in crowds speaking. He was like a celebrity! He had many followers and witnesses who testified of what they saw and heard.
Don't waste this life just wondering about the meaning of it. There is an answer. Jesus. Seriously. Question, look and investigate.
Please ignore the false teachings of 'Christians' who behave nothing like Christ and twist His words. Like some tele-evangelists who are after money or attention. Go to the source.
Read the Bible for yourself, read what Jesus said of Himself.
The Book of Mark (In the New Testament) is a great place to start. It is the shortest biography of Jesus and won't take long to read.
Thanks for reading! God Bless you!
"I'm basically a good person, so I'll go to heaven." "OK, so I do some bad things, but I do more good things, so I'll go to heaven." "God won't send me to hell just because I don't live by the Bible. Times have changed!" "Only really bad people like child molesters and murderers go to hell."
These are all common rationalizations, but the truth is that they are all lies. Satan, the ruler of the world, plants these thoughts in our heads. He, and anyone who follows his ways, is an enemy of God (1Peter 5:8). Satan is a deceiver and often disguises himself as someone good (2 Corinthians 11:14), but he has control over all the minds that do not belong to God. "The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God" (2 Corinthians 4:4).
It is a lie to believe that God doesn't care about small sins or that hell is reserved for "bad people." All sin separates us from God, even a “little white lie.” Everyone has sinned, and no one is good enough to get to heaven on their own (Romans 3:23). Getting into heaven is not based on whether our good outweighs our bad; we will all lose out if that is the case. "And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace" (Romans 11:6). We can do nothing good to earn our way to heaven (Titus 3:5).
"Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it" (Matthew 7:13). Even if everyone else is living a life of sin in a culture where trusting in God is not popular, God will not excuse it. "As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient" (Ephesians 2:1-2).
When God created the world, it was perfect and good. Then he made Adam and Eve and gave them their own free will, so they would have a choice whether to follow and obey God. But they were tempted by Satan to disobey God, and they sinned. This separated them (and everyone that came after them, including us) from being able to have a close relationship with God. He is perfect and holy and must judge sin. As sinners, we couldn't reconcile ourselves to God on our own. So God made a way that we could be united with Him in heaven. "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16). "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 6:23). Jesus was born to die for our sins so that we would not have to. Three days after His death, He rose from the grave (Romans 4:25), proving Himself victorious over death. He bridged the gap between God and man so that we may have a personal relationship with Him if we only believe.
"Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent" (John 17:3). Most people believe in God, even Satan does. But to receive salvation, we must turn to God, form a personal relationship, turn away from our sins, and follow Him. We must trust in Jesus with everything we have and everything we do. "This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference" (Romans 3:22). The Bible teaches that there is no other way to salvation than through Christ. Jesus says in John 14:6, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."
Jesus is the only way of salvation because He is the only One who can pay our sin penalty (Romans 6:23). No other religion teaches the depth or seriousness of sin and its consequences. No other religion offers the infinite payment of sin that only Jesus Christ could provide. No other “religious founder” was God become man (John 1:1, 14) – the only way an infinite debt could be paid. Jesus had to be God so that He could pay our debt. Jesus had to be man so He could die. Salvation is available only through faith in Jesus Christ! “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
My opinions stem directly from what God has shown me through His Words. The fallen angels work as ministers to Satan and his purposes, being the third of the angels cast out with Lucifer when he rebelled against God. "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:" (1 Peter 5:8).
In Revelation 12:7-12, the basic story of Lucifer's fall is outlined;
"And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time."
The story from Revelation correlates also with a passage in Isaiah, instead using the name of Lucifer.
"How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit." (Isaiah 14:12-15)
Though the two passages use different names, yet they are one and the same. Lucifer is called the son of the morning, whereas the stereotype of Satan paints a picture of a red man with horns. In 2 Corinthians 11, Paul talks about how deceitful people are disguised as ministers of Christ, when their hearts are anything by righteous before God and verse 14 says, "And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light." There is no reason to assume that Lucifer and Satan are different beings, when they had fallen in the same way and are described in the same way.
Compared to Christianity, Islam has some similarities but significant differences. Like Christianity, Islam is monotheistic. However, Muslims reject the Trinity—that God has revealed Himself as one in three Persons: the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Muslims claim that Jesus was a mere prophet—not God’s Son. Islam asserts that Jesus, though born of a virgin, was created like Adam. Many Muslims do not believe Jesus died on the cross. They do not understand why Allah would allow His prophet Isa (the Islamic word for "Jesus") to die a torturous death. Yet the Bible shows how the death of the perfect Son of God was essential to pay for the sins of believers (Isaiah 53:5-6; John 3:16; 14:6; 1 Peter 2:24).
Islam teaches that the Qur'an is the final authority and the last revelation of Allah. The Bible, however, was completed in the first century with the Book of Revelation. The Bible warns against anyone adding to or subtracting from God’s Word (Deuteronomy 4:2; Proverbs 30:6; Galatians 1:6-12; Revelation 22:18). The Qur’an, as a claimed addition to God’s Word, directly disobeys God’s command.
Muslims believe that paradise can be earned through keeping the Five Pillars. The Bible, in contrast, reveals that sinful man can never measure up to the holy God (Romans 3:23; 6:23). Only by God’s grace may sinners be saved through repentant faith in Jesus (Acts 20:21; Ephesians 2:8-9).
Because of these essential differences and contradictions, Islam and Christianity cannot both be true. The Bible and Qur’an cannot both be God’s Word. The truth has eternal consequences.
“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world” (1 John 4:1-4; see also John 3:35-36).
So many people have never stopped to consider these important questions. They look back years later and wonder why their relationships have fallen apart and why they feel so empty, even though they may have achieved what they set out to accomplish. An athlete who had reached the pinnacle of his sport was once asked what he wished someone would have told him when he first started playing his sport. He replied, “I wish that someone would have told me that when you reach the top, there's nothing there.” Many goals reveal their emptiness only after years have been wasted in their pursuit.
In our humanistic culture, people pursue many things, thinking that in them they will find meaning. Some of these pursuits include business success, wealth, good relationships, sex, entertainment, and doing good to others. People have testified that while they achieved their goals of wealth, relationships, and pleasure, there was still a deep void inside, a feeling of emptiness that nothing seemed to fill.
The author of the biblical book of Ecclesiastes describes this feeling when he says, “Meaningless! Meaningless! ...Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless” (Ecclesiastes 1:2). King Solomon, the writer of Ecclesiastes, had wealth beyond measure, wisdom beyond any man of his time or ours, hundreds of women, palaces and gardens that were the envy of kingdoms, the best food and wine, and every form of entertainment available. He said at one point that anything his heart wanted, he pursued. And yet he summed up “life under the sun”—life lived as though all there is to life is what we can see with our eyes and experience with our senses—is meaningless. Why is there such a void? Because God created us for something beyond what we can experience in the here-and-now. Solomon said of God, “He has also set eternity in the hearts of men...” (Ecclesiastes 3:11). In our hearts we are aware that the “here-and-now” is not all that there is.
In Genesis, the first book of the Bible, we find that God created mankind in His image (Genesis 1:26). This means that we are more like God than we are like anything else (any other life form). We also find that before mankind fell into sin and the curse of sin came upon the earth, the following things were true: 1) God made man a social creature (Genesis 2:18-25); 2) God gave man work (Genesis 2:15); 3) God had fellowship with man (Genesis 3:8); and 4) God gave man dominion over the earth (Genesis 1:26). What is the significance of these things? God intended for each of these to add to our fulfillment in life, but all of these (especially man's fellowship with God) were adversely affected by man's fall into sin and the resulting curse upon the earth (Genesis 3).
In Revelation, the last book of the Bible, God reveals that He will destroy this present earth and heavens and usher in the eternal state by creating a new heaven and a new earth. At that time, He will restore full fellowship with redeemed mankind, while the unredeemed will have been judged unworthy and cast into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:11-15). The curse of sin will be done away with; there will be no more sin, sorrow, sickness, death, or pain (Revelation 21:4). God will dwell with them, and they shall be His sons (Revelation 21:7). Thus, we come full circle: God created us to have fellowship with Him, man sinned, breaking that fellowship, God restores that fellowship fully in the eternal state. To go through life achieving everything only to die separated from God for eternity would be worse than futile! But God has made a way to not only make eternal bliss possible (Luke 23:43) but also life on earth satisfying and meaningful. How is this eternal bliss and “heaven on earth” obtained?
Real meaning in life, both now and in eternity, is found in the restoration of the relationship with God that was lost with Adam and Eve's fall into sin. That relationship with God is only possible through His Son, Jesus Christ (Acts 4:12; John 1:12; 14:6). Eternal life is gained when we repent of our sin (no longer want to continue in it) and Christ changes us, making of us new creations, and we rely on Jesus Christ as Savior.
Real meaning in life is not found only in accepting Jesus as Savior, as wonderful as that is. Rather, real meaning in life is when one begins to follow Christ as His disciple, learning of Him, spending time with Him in His Word, communing with Him in prayer, and in walking with Him in obedience to His commands. If you are not a Christian (or perhaps a new believer), you might be saying to yourself, “That does not sound very exciting or fulfilling to me!” But Jesus made the following statements:
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30). “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10b). “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it” (Matthew 16:24-25). “Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4).
What all of these verses are saying is that we have a choice. We can continue to seek to guide our own lives, which results in emptiness, or we can choose to pursue God and His will for our lives with a whole heart, which will result in living life to the full, having the desires of our hearts met, and finding contentment and satisfaction. This is so because our Creator loves us and desires the best for us (not necessarily the easiest life, but the most fulfilling).
The Christian life can be compared to the choice of whether to purchase the expensive seats at a sporting event that are close to the action, or pay less and watch the game from a distance. Watching God work “from the front row” is what we should choose but, sadly, is not what most people choose. Watching God work firsthand is for whole-hearted disciples of Christ who have truly stopped pursuing their own desires to pursue instead God's purposes. They have paid the price (complete surrender to Christ and His will); they are experiencing life to its fullest; and they can face themselves, their fellow man, and their Maker with no regrets. Have you paid the price? Are you willing to? If so, you will not hunger after meaning or purpose again.
Joel Osteen’s book Your Best Life Now has caused many people to seek their “best life now.” Among the claims Mr. Osteen makes are “God wants to increase you financially” (page 5). He goes on to explain that this quest for financial and material increase is actually pleasing to God. No doubt, Osteen is sincere in what he says and believes that wealth and success really are the way to happiness. But is that what the Bible says? Does God want all His children to be wealthy, and does He tell us that is the way to find happiness? More importantly, is our best life now or is our best life in the world to come?
To say that life on this earth is the best you can have is absolutely true—if you’re not a Christian. The non-Christian lives his best life in the here and now because his next life is one of no hope, no joy, no meaning, no satisfaction and no relief from eternal suffering. Those who have rejected Jesus Christ will spend an eternity in “outer darkness, where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.” This phrase is used five times (Matthew 8:12; 22:13; 24:51; 25:30; Luke 13:28) to describe the miserable existence of those who are thrust into it at the moment of their deaths. So, seeking to “live it up” while they can makes perfect sense for them because they really are living their best life now. The next life will be truly dreadful.
For the Christian, however, life here, no matter how good it is, is nothing compared to the life that awaits us in heaven. The glories of heaven—eternal life, righteousness, joy, peace, perfection, God’s presence, Christ’s glorious companionship, rewards, and all else God has planned—is the Christian’s heavenly inheritance (1 Peter 1:3-5), and it will cause even the best life on earth to pale in comparison. Even the richest, most successful person on earth will eventually age, sicken, and die, and his wealth cannot prevent it, nor can his wealth follow him into the next life. So, why would we be encouraged to live our best lives now? "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:19-21).
This verse brings us to the next difficulty with the “best life now” philosophy. Our hearts reside wherever our treasure resides. What we value in life permeates our hearts, our minds, our very existence, and it inevitably comes out in our speech and actions. If you’ve ever met someone whose life is bound up in pursuing wealth and pleasure, it is obvious immediately because it’s all he talks about. His heart is filled with the things of this life, and out of the abundance of his heart, his mouth speaks (Luke 6:45). He has no time for the things of the Lord—His Word, His people, His work and the eternal life He offers—because he is so busy pursuing his best life now.
But the Bible tells us that the “kingdom of heaven,” not worldly wealth, is like a treasure hidden in a field—so valuable that we should sell everything we have to attain it (Matthew 13:44). There are no scriptural admonitions to pursue and store up wealth. In fact, we are encouraged to do just the opposite. Jesus urged the rich young ruler to sell all that he had and follow Him so that he would have treasure in heaven, but the young man went away sad because his wealth was his heart’s true treasure (Mark 10:17-23). No doubt the young man experienced his best life on earth, only to lose the hope of real life in the future. “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?” (Mark 8:36).
But doesn’t God want us to live in comfort and financial security? We have only to look at the Lord Jesus and the apostles to know that the “best life now” philosophy is devoid of truth. Jesus certainly had no wealth, nor did those who followed Him. He didn’t even have a place to lay His head (Luke 9:58). The apostle Paul’s life would certainly not qualify as blessed by Osteen’s standards, either. Paul says, “From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness” (2 Corinthians 11:24-27). Does that sound like Paul was living his best life?! Of course not. He was waiting for his best life in the future, his blessed hope, “an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven” for him and all who are in Christ. That is our best life, not this “vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away” (James 4:14).
How can we expect a world infected by sin to provide our best life now? How can we ignore scriptures like “Man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upward” (Job 5:7) and “all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12) and “count it all joy when you fall into various trials” (James 1:2), and tell people their best life is here and now? How can we count as meaningless the suffering of the early Christian martyrs who were hanged, burned at the stake, beheaded, and boiled in oil for their faith and their faithfulness to Christ, gladly suffering for the Savior they adored? Did they die these excruciating deaths because no one ever told them they could have experienced their best lives if only they pursued wealth and a healthy self-image, as Joel Osteen claims? The Lord never promised health, wealth, or success in this life. We can’t expect the promises He makes for heaven to be fulfilled now, and the Church dare not promise people the impossible illusion of their best life now. If we do, we encourage them to decide for themselves what will constitute their best lives and then reject Jesus when He doesn’t deliver.
The “your best life now” philosophy is nothing more than the old “power of positive thinking” lie repackaged to scratch the itching ears of the current generation. If we know Jesus Christ as our Savior, our best lives await us in heaven where we will spend eternity in joy and bliss, enjoying a life which is inconceivable to us now.
It is hard for me to fathom exactly why Jesus said it, when He knew exactly how He would suffer. In the Garden of Gethsemane, before He was taken to be crucified, Jesus was so distressed over His destiny that He sweat blood as well as water, yet He still chose to obey His Father ("...Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him. And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground." Luke 22:42-44).
When Jesus hung on the cross, He took upon Himself the sins of the whole world, that any who should believe upon Him would be saved, accepting His sacrifice as the payment for their self-inflicted chains of sin. But along with the sin that was laid upon His shoulders, Jesus would also have known that God couldn’t look upon sin. At that time, God turned His back, and Jesus in His perfection, had never felt that separation from His Heavenly Father. I can only imagine that His Father's presence was like a spring in the midst of desert sands, and when God turned His back, suddenly the water dried up, leaving only the taste of dust in Jesus’ mouth.
As I read that passage in Matthew 27 and Mark 15 where Jesus cries out to God, my only thought is that I will never feel the same pain that Jesus felt. In Hebrews 13:5, God promises never to leave us or forsake us, but I know that Jesus was forsaken so that God's Words would be made true. All those who trust in the shadow of Jesus' wings, choosing to abide in Him rather than in the world, are forever blessed with living water that will never dry up. Unlike Jesus, who suffered thirst, those who believe in and follow Him will never suffer thirst.
Jesus' Words seem more to confirm what He has always said, that in Him we would find living water that brings eternal life, but without Him, dead in sins, we would suffer a choking thirst. Praise God that He has granted us the gift to never know thirst and never be forsaken. Take Jesus' Words and see them as a counter-blessing: Jesus, who should have been most blessed of all, was made a curse for us; Jesus, who is one with the Father and the Father is one with Him, was forsaken by His Father, that we would never be forsaken.
Jesus said, "This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you. Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you. These things I command you, that ye love one another." John 15:12-17
This is in answer to all of your questions/concerns. In Matthew 5:27-28, Jesus says, "Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: but I say unto you, that whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart." Though an action is not followed through, even the thought of doing it is a sin, with the ability to still damage relationships. Whether it is thought or action, God calls His children to be pure and holy in all things. When it comes to your friend, it does seem unusual that a doctor would prescribe that, but I am sure that Christ would heal Him of his anger problem, without making him commit even more sin.
Raging hormones can be a factor in anyone's life, but those urges can be controlled by the grace of God, and I do not mean to insult your argument, but everything in life is a choice; the excuse, "The devil/hormones made me do it," doesn't hold up. Excuses in general are a danger to the Christian walk, since people try to justify their sin, even as their sin is putting a bigger rift between them and Christ.
Even back in the Bible times, there were many instances mentioned of fornication and prostitution; there is nothing new under the sun. Not matter what age you live in, it all comes down to a choice; will you follow the will of God wholeheartedly or not? I know there are many Christians who have made mistakes, and thanks be to God that we can be redeemed even though our sins were black as night, but in the New Testament, God gives an admonishment to those who cannot abstain: "But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn" (1 Corinthians 7:9). This verse especially speaks to people from this time. If a man feels that they cannot control himself, then what is keeping him from marrying the one he loves?
In this verse, Paul states that marriage is the “cure” for sexual immorality. First Corinthians 7:2 is essentially saying that, because people cannot control themselves and so many are having immoral sex outside of marriage, people should get married. Then they can fulfill their passions in a moral way.
All I can say is to repeat the verse from Leviticus 19:28, "Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the LORD." Though times may have changed, it is certain that God does not change; the verse is direct. For your boyfriend who already has a tattoo, it is best to try to turn it into a witness. I can only say that Leviticus 19:28 should keep you from getting a tattoo, and I know of at least one man who got many tattoos in his youth and cam to regret all of them as he got older. Even Mark Whalberg, who does not profess to be a Christian, has removed his tattoos to deter his children from ever getting any. Tattoos in general seem to be Christian's desire to conform to what the rest of the world expects, since I have had many friends who say they want to get a tattoo the moment their old enough. In Romans 12:1-2, God says, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."
Ultimately, these issues and questions that you have brought to my attention can only be answered with much prayer and reading of God's Words. All the answers I have given you have come from my own study of the Bible, and interpreting events around me from a Biblical standpoint. I would urge you to pray to God about this yourself, seeking God's wisdom above any that the world can offer.
God commands sex to be contained within marriage because it is so powerful; in fact, it is the glue that holds people together and binds their spirits to each other (1 Cor. 6:16).
The term fornication, or in more modern translations, sexual immorality, simply refers to all sexual activity outside of marriage. Below is the first paragraph under "fornication" in the Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible, 1975, Vol. 2, p. 601:
"Four different NT meanings are obvious. 1. In 1 Corinthians 7:2 and 1 Thessalonians 4:3, Paul is warning unmarried people about the temptation to fornication. In both cases fornication refers to voluntary sexual intercourse of an unmarried person with anyone of the opposite sex. The meaning is specific and restricted. In four other passages fornication is used in a list of sins which includes "adultery" (Matt. 15:19; Mark 7:21; 1 Cor. 6:9; Gal. 5:19). Since adultery involves a married person, the meaning of fornication in these passages is specific and restricted, involving unchastity of unmarried people."
Later the same entry relates,
"Jesus related fornication to adultery when he said "Everyone who looks at a woman lustfully (i.e. with a thought of sexual intercourse) has already committed adultery with her in his heart" (Matt. 5:28). R. C. H. Lenski interprets the "everyone" to include both men and women and both married and unmarried. Thus Jesus was saying that sexual intercourse of unmarried people (fornication) is as evil as extra-marital sexual intercourse (adultery)."
The entry closes with this statement:
"Those who state that the NT makes no reference to permarital sex relations and gives no advice on the personal and social problems involved are overlooking the NT use and meaning of the word fornication, esp. in such passages as 1 Corinthians 7:2 and 1 Thessalonians 4:3."
Please also note that Paul closes his discussion of sexual immorality in 1 Cor. 7 with verses 8 and 9. "But I say to the unmarried and to widows that it is good for them if they remain even as I (verse 8). But if they do not have self-control, let them marry; for it is better to marry than to burn (verse 9)." I'd say he felt rather strongly about it.
While the Scripture is very clear concerning the immorality and sin of pre-marital sex, these verses also need to be shared with humility and gentleness with the end of restoring a brother and sister in Christ, not driving them away. The truth of God's word convicts on its own. A spirit of judgment can often be counterproductive.
With regards to tattoos, Actually, yes the Bible does address the subject of tattoos. Lev. 19:28 says, "Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves. I am the LORD."
If your loved ones are not Christians, they may or may not care that God specifically addressed this issue in the Bible. If they do, knowing God said not to do it might be enough. If not, you might mention that there must be a good reason for God to forbid His people to permanently mark their bodies this way, and it turns out there are several.
1. To quote my brother-in-law, who became enamored of "body art" when he was younger and sports seven large tatoos on his body—which he now despises—"Permanent is a long, long time." The majority of people who get tattoos regret it later.
2. Tattoos are exceedingly painful and expensive to have removed.
3. Some tattoo inks have metal in them, so if one's health is threatened, an MRI can be complicated (and there can be some discomfort) by a tattoo.
4. On a more spiritual note, God may not want us to permanently mark our bodies because it is disrespectful to the body He fashioned and gave to us to steward. The fact that a tattoo cannot be undone (completely) reflects the sad truth that some decisions are one-way and we box ourselves into a corner. Tattoos make a statement physically, but God intends that the purity and beauty of our LIVES make the statement, rather than "I was young (or drunk, or on drugs) and did this to myself." (Yes, I am biased, I will cheerfully admit. <grin>)
I hope this helps.
But Martin Luther evidently thought they were fine. So I don’t know what to think.
It’s true that many believers consider the crucifix an idol because (1) it purports to be a representation of Deity (i.e., Jesus hanging on the Cross) and (2) it is the focus of worship, devotion, or veneration in certain religious traditions.
In the Torah, God told His people, “You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth" (Ex. 20:4). This prohibition, of course, doesn’t apply to routine works of art, but rather to creating any image or likeness that might attract worship (cp. v. 5; also,Lev. 26:1, Deut.5:8-9).
Defenders of crucifixes (and other religious objects that are used as aids to worship) point out that people don’t really worship the objects or images themselves. They say they only worship what the object or image represents. However, the Torah makes no such distinction. It doesn’t say that images are okay as long as they only represent God. When the Lord (through Moses) uses terms like “bow down” and “serve,” He’s clearly referring to acts or services of worship. And He says those acts or services of worship should not involve any man-made representation of God (or a god). In fact, we shouldn’t even make such a likeness in the first place.
We worship only the Reality itself—the LORD God of heaven and earth—and nothing less. This is what the Bible says.
The Encyclopedia of Catholicism (San Francisco: Harper Collins Publishers, 1995) acknowledges that “the portrayal of Christ on the cross was absent in the first centuries of Christian art.During the time of Constantine (early fourth century), the cross was presented as a sign of Christ’s triumph over death at Easter” (p. 383). Crucifixes (that is, an image of a cross with the Son of God hanging on it) didn’t become common until Medieval times (ibid).
The early, first-century Church was distinctively Jewish—and those Messianic believers knew better than to violate the second commandment. Later, however, as non-Jewish influences crept into the institutional Church, those OT prohibitions weren’t taken so seriously anymore. By the time of Emperor Constantine, the transformation from a Jewish to a non-Jewish church was largely complete.
For instance, while the early Church had always celebrated the Resurrection of Messiah during Passover (a practice known in Church history as Quartodecimenism),the Council of Nicea (convened by Constantine) later declared: “If any bishop, presbyter, or deacon shall celebrate the holy day of Easter before the vernal equinox with the Jews, let him be deposed” (“Apostolic
Canon 7” in A Select Library of Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church, Second Series, Volume 14: The Seven Ecumenical Councils [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1956], p. 594).
This anti-Jewish polemic in the third- and fourth-century religious world spilled over into other areas, as well—including the use of icons and images in worship.
Sure, people can tell me whatever they want
From what little I have learned about the Law of Attraction on Wikipedia and other internet information sights, it is not compatible with Christianity at all. If we ask God for something we want, really thinking upon that in a positive way, it doesn't mean that we will get it. God's ways are much higher than our ways, and His thoughts are much higher than our thoughts. True Christianity is faith that God will provide what we "need" and the will to live a life that blesses others, even as we seek to become more like Christ. The Law of Attraction seems to be only a selfish and all too worldly concept. Even Christ came not to be served, but to serve others, and that is a concept that true followers of Christ must learn to embrace. However, under the law of attraction, serving would be a selfish task, to receive some reward that we think we have earned or worked for. Salvation is through faith, not works, it cannot be earned. Though faith without works is dead, so too is works without faith; they must go hand in hand. Unless a new teaching can be backed up with Scripture in every way, then it is not compatible with a life that follows Christ. If a new idea also takes God completely out of the equation, like the Law of Attraction, then you can rest assured that it is not approved of by God, and nor will it enable any person to draw nearer to Jesus.
It’s always best to leave the timing of prophetic events in the Father’s hands (see Acts 1:7). Besides, why do we need to know precisely when the Lord is coming back? He might come today, tomorrow, or 200 years from now. The Bible says we are supposed to live expectantly, productively, victoriously, and obediently—irrespective of the date of His return. if we could somehow know that the Lord will return at noon tomorrow, and we would live any differently than we are now, then our priorities are out of order!
Yes, I always like to be very open and honest!
To your first question, yes. Though Satan rebelled against God, God had the power to cast him and 1/3 of the angels (Satan's followers) out of Heaven. This was a great show of God's power and sovereignty over all, no matter how much they think of themselves, but Satan was also defeated again. When Jesus died on the cross, He took all of the worlds' sins upon Himself, taking their punishment of suffering in Hell. Satan thought that he had gained the victory when Jesus died, but God showed His power over Death and Hell when Jesus rose from the grave.
There is nothing that Jesus cannot do, and defeating Satan is no exception. Jesus has defeated Satan so many times, but every being is eternal, destined for either Heaven by the grace of God, or Hell by the decisions of their life. In Revelation, it tells the story of Satan's defeat for a season and his ultimate defeat, where he will not die, but be tormented day and night for ever.
"7 And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, 8 And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. 9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. 10 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. 11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. 12 Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time." Revelation 12:7-12
"1 And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. 2 And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, 3 And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season."
"7 And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, 8 And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. 9 And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them. 10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever." Revelation 20:1-3 and 7-10
Satan has been temporarily granted a tremendous amount of power over this world, as can be seen from the following passages:
John 12:31 - Now judgment is upon this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out.
2 Cor 4:4 - ...in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
1 John 5:19 - We know that we are of God, and that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.
But God is the One who ultimately rules and reigns over all things. He is the Creator of all that exists (other than Himself of course) and all things are ultimately subject to His will and power. Many passages of Scripture bear this out - e.g. Psalms 9:7; 22:28; 47:8; 59:13; 66:7; 97:1; 99:1; 103:19; 146:10, as well as passages such as Gen. 1-2; Job 1-2; John 1; Eph. 1; Col. 1; Rom. 9-11; Rev. 19-22; etc.
Satan is a creature; God is his Creator. Satan cannot do anything that the Lord does not permit him to do (see Job 1-2) and God will one day cast Satan into the lake of fire for all eternity (Rev. 20:10).
I recently saw an evangelist on TV who said the same thing. Help! I need Scripture.
You are wise to seek an answer from Scripture. The Bible should always be our final authority, so I commend you for the way you’re approaching this. Let’s see what the Bible tells us about this phenomenon of raising people from the dead.
We know from the biblical record that people have been raised from the dead by the power of God.
This tells us that it’s not inherently something God can’t or won’t do. OT instances include: the widow’s son (raised by Elijah; 1 Kings 17:21-24), the Shunammite woman’s son (raised by Elisha; 2 Kings 4:32- 37), and the man thrown into Elisha’s tomb (2 Kings 13:20-21). NT instances include the daughter of Jairus (raised by Yeshua; Mark 5:35-42), many OT saints in Jerusalem (after Yeshua’s resurrection; Matt. 27:52), the widow’s son at Nain (raised by Yeshua; Luke 7:11-15), Dorcas/Tabitha (raised by Peter; Acts 9:36-41), and Eutychus (raised by Paul; Acts 20:9-12).
The biblical occurrences were not merely instances of resuscitation (reviving someone who’s only been “dead” for a brief time); they were genuine miracles of reanimation.
That is, people who were stone-cold dead were brought back to life. One of the best- known examples of this phenomenon is recorded in John 11 where Lazarus of Bethany—Mary and Martha’s brother— died after a brief illness. Four days had passed and the body was already in a state of decomposition (v. 39); yet Yeshua (Jesus) raised him from the dead (v. 43).
(Note that we make a distinction between “reanimation” [a case where someone is raised from the dead but goes on to die later in life] and “resurrection” [describing a case like Yeshua’s, in which He was raised from the dead never to die again; see Hebrews 7:15-16]. There’s no such thing as a temporary resurrection, but there have been numerous cases of temporary reanimation.)
The people in Bethany, of course, were well aware of the Lord’s reputation as a healer and miracle worker; so before Yeshua raised up Lazarus, the locals were a bit critical. They were asking, “Could not this Man, who opened the eyes of the blind, also have kept this man from dying?” (v. 37).
It was a legitimate question. Why didn’t the Lord heal his friend Lazarus before he died? He could have spoken a word, even from a distance, and Lazarus would have been healed immediately (see Matthew 8:5-13 for an example). So why did Lazarus have to die? This leads to the third point.
The purpose of the messianic miracles was to confirm that Yeshua was who He claimed to be—Israel’s King- Messiah and Savior. In the case of Lazarus, Yeshua said (before bringing his friend back to life) that his illness was “not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it” (John 11:4). The Lord delayed coming to Bethany for several days (v. 6). That way, there would be no doubt that Lazarus was really dead. In ancient Judaism, there was a widespread expectation that the Messiah’s arrival would be accompa- nied by the raising of the dead (e.g., 2 [Syriac] Baruch 30:1-5; Targum Songs 8:5; Sanhedrin 90b), so Yeshua was carefully setting the stage for a miracle that would be an inexplicable sign to the Sanhedrin that He was the Messiah.
Sadly, however, the Sanhedrin later disregarded the sign (vv. 45-53). This was inexcusable because many eyewitnesses saw Lazarus walk out of that tomb. There was no question that a miracle had taken place. Yet the Sanhedrin brushed these events aside because they were that determined not to believe in the Lord.
Later, of course, the ultimate sign for the Sanhedrin was the Resurrection of Yeshua himself (Matt. 12:38-40). However, most if not all the members of the ruling council rejected that sign, as well. Even in Bible times, God wasn’t interested in jumping through hoops for unbelievers who didn’t want to believe anyway. He was more concerned about honest, sincere people who wanted to believe and were simply looking for evidence that what He said was true.
In most instances, alleged modern- day “miracles” do not fit the biblical pattern.
At times, they include out-and-out fakery and trickery. For example, a supposed “faith healer” named Peter Popoff was exposed on national television in the 1980s. Investigators used a scanner to discover that Popoff’s wife was feeding him information about people in the audience through a tiny radio receiver in his ear. His followers thought the information was coming from God. God’s people need to be circumspect in these dangerous days and not fall for religious scams, trickery, and psychological manipulation (Eph. 4:13-14).
In some cases, supposed “miracles” have a natural (rather than supernatural) explanation. For instance, medical professionals are well aware of some people who were declared dead coming back to life spontaneously. Years ago, we knew a woman who was working in a morgue when a “dead” man sat up on the slab, threw off the sheet, and wanted to know where he was. She said she nearly had a heart attack! A spontaneous event like this would not be considered a miracle in the biblical sense of the word. Strange and unusual, yes; but not necessarily miraculous.
One intriguing case made the national news a few years ago when a well-known cardiologist named Chauncey Crandall prayed for a man who had died in a Florida hospital—and he came back to life. This incident is well-documented (just Google the doctor’s name and you’ll find plenty of information).
Even so, we don’t see miracles happening today (at least, not authentic ones) with the same frequency as they did in biblical times. Couple this with the fact that the religious landscape in the 21st century is overrun with pretenders and scam artists, and it means that we need to be careful and discerning in these last days (2 Tim. 3:1-5).
Quite frankly, some of us need to grow up. Our faith shouldn’t be based on miracles and shallow sensationalism, but on the unchangeable and unshakable Word of God:
For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil (Heb. 5:12-14).
Somewhere on the beach. Probably Oceanside, CA.