Dear Esther
If you are having a challenging day or burdened with some personal problems, then you can be sure others are too. Write to Esther and she will have some good sound biblical advice and answers for you. You will be helping others by sharing your need or concern. “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Gal. 6:2).


You can email your question to Esther at:
dearesther7@yahoo.com

    




August 24, 2015

Dear Esther,

Hi, I'm Cameron, a 17 year old in high school. I do consider myself blessed, but I have lost my faith in religion, sort of. I believe in God, but I cannot fully call myself a Christian. These past few weeks, before I sleep...I have prayed and prayed.

I do not like the thought of death but I know “to live...you must die.” I've been reading the books, The Left Behind series. It speaks about being left behind after the Rapture. Personally, I feel God has told me to not believe in Him and to stay after the Rapture to evangelize; that He is real after the Rapture.

I am anxious and nervous though, because I am young. How can I put my belief into God when I'm so very skeptical in believing in Him? Please help me.

Always,

Cameron


Dear Cameron,

I am so glad you reached out. By the time you finish reading this, it is my heartfelt prayer that you will understand that God is very real and in no way would He tell you not to believe in Him now and to put off believing in Him until after the Rapture. That is completely unscriptural.

It is a lie from God's arch enemy, the devil—Satan, the deceiver. He would place such ideas in your head and use the world around you to cause you to doubt. He is the father of lies.

His number one weapon against the truth, against the Word of God is promoting false philosophies and religions. Cameron, it is understandable that you do not gravitate toward religion; that is a good thing. It is a personal relationship with Christ that matters, not religion.

The devil is working day and night trying to convince you and me and everyone else that the true God of the Bible does not exist or that if He does exist, He is just one of many gods.

But please don't fall for that deadly trap. The devil wants you to think that as long as you are a nice person and do nice deeds, your eternity will be just fine. He would even like you to go to church on Sunday as long as you don't take that “Jesus” who sacrificed Himself on the Cross, too seriously.

The Bible is filled with Scripture about believing. Here is a short list:

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

“God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 5:24).

“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life” (John 6:47).

“Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins” (John 8:24).

“That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9).

In the following verses, Jesus cautions us about Satan, the devil:

“He [the devil] was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature; for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44b).

“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12).

Evil and Satan are complex topics. The devil is not just some type of fictitious evil concept, or a figment of one's imagination. Satan, whose original name was Lucifer, was a marvelously beautiful angel who held a very high position. He was not created to be evil, but he became so through his own corruption.

His own pride, greed and self-importance caused him to try to replace and overthrow his own Creator—Almighty God. In the following verse you will see how Satan tried to usurp God's authority, resulting in his eviction from heaven:

“How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, you who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the Most High'” (Isaiah 14:12-14).

Cameron, you can also see from the previous Scripture that Satan broke the first of Almighty God's Ten Commandments: “You shall have no other gods before Me” (Exodus 20:3). Although Satan was thrown out of heaven—his first rebellion (Luke 10:18), he still has access to the heavenly domains and also roams around on earth prowling about like a roaring lion (1 Peter 1:8). But halfway through the Tribulation he will be ousted from the heavenly realms permanently (Revelation 12:7-12).

“Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them. And the LORD said to Satan, “From where do you come?” So Satan answered the LORD and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it” (Job 1:6-7).

Satan tried to overthrow God's throne. He became his own god, worshipping himself rather than the true God and Creator of the universe. God's response was to cast him from heaven down to earth. Ever since that time there has been an enormous struggle going on between good and evil, between God and Satan.

Arrogance, pride and brazen self-aggrandizing are all traits that took Satan out of God's good graces. Satan took advantage of the power God initially gave him and used it against Him. Since then the devil has stopped at nothing to try to usurp the King of the universe. He wants to destroy God's creations and cause havoc and heartache any way he can.

The same human inclination for self-importance and power later enticed Adam and Eve into sinning when Satan lied to Eve and said: “You will be like God” (Genesis 3:5). Because of the fall of Man into sin all of mankind is separated from the God of creation, the Holy God of Israel.

Mankind inherited this separated sin condition from Adam and Eve. The inclination to sin is in our spiritual DNA and only through Christ can we be freed from that deadly affliction (the Adamic nature we are all born under).

“Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned” (Romans 5:12).

God's way of reconciling humanity to Himself is through Christ's death sacrifice on the Cross, which paid the penalty for all of mankind's sins. Reconciliation with God and the gift of eternal life is based upon the confession of Jesus of Nazareth, accepting the only begotten Son of God, as Savior.

“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation” (Romans 5:8-11).

Satan will stop at nothing to try to defeat Almighty God. He is the consummate definition of evil, shrewdly plotting to get his own way. He thrives on creating agony and total destruction. Where there is unspeakable calamity, we can find the signature of Satan. We need only tune into local and world news reports each day to learn about dark and disturbing events.

These matters cannot be explained except for the undeniable presence of evil, orchestrating one tragedy after another. Evil has infiltrated the hearts and minds of inordinate numbers of people. But in Christ we have hope and the assurance of spiritual victory. It is up to each one of us individually to accept His free gift of salvation .

Don't let Satan steal away your life, Cameron. He has your right where he wants you. Don't give him the satisfaction of surrendering your soul to him. The eternal glory of the Lord is available to anyone who wholeheartedly accepts His free gift of eternal salvation, as long as it is before we take our last and final breath.

Scripture tells us there will be those who will wait until they find themselves living through the inescapable terrors of the Tribulation to accept Christ's free gift of salvation. And that is what you are saying, Cameron. There is no guarantee you will even live that long. You could die tomorrow. People die unexpectedly every day.

 Tomorrow is promised to no one. Any one of us could take our last breath today. Then it will be too late. The only way we can embrace righteousness and holiness is to be covered by the atoning blood sacrifice of Jesus. We are to believe and accept Christ today, not some day in the future.

“For He made Him [Jesus] who knew no sinto be sin for us, that we may become the righteousness of God in Him. Behold now is the accepted time; behold now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 5:21, 6b).

By accepting Christ's free gift of salvation—because of Him—we are purified so we can enter into the presence of a Holy God—the holiness of heaven. I choose to believe Christ when He tells me there is a literal place that is filled with so much torment and anguish that only He can save us from it. Christ holds the key to salvation and eternal life.

There is no other way, despite what biblically illiterate people would have you believe. Avoid hell by personally receiving Him as your Lord and Savior. Blind allegiance to manmade philosophies and religions will only hurt you. Here are some Scriptural references to that horrific place called hell:

“And these [who reject Christ] will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous [believers] into eternal life” (Matthew 25:46).

“The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God” (Psalm 9:17).

“Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me you cursed, into the everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels'” (Matthew 25:41). [Jesus is speaking of the people in the final judgment.]

“But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death” (Revelation 21:8).

Scary stuff. It defies logic. Inconceivable: “Everlasting fire; the lake which burns with fire and brimstone.” Surely these statements must be allegorical and mythological. No, that is not what the Lord says. He says this is the real condition of a real place called hell. We mortals are limited in our understanding of the broad scope of this insidious spiritual war. Trust and believe in the One who died for you.

“But God demonstrates His love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.

“For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life” (Romans 5:8-10).

“And this is in the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life” (1 John 5:11-12).

“And He delivered us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son. In which we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:13).

In the following verse Christ speaks of His death sacrifice on the Cross, the payment for all of mankind's sins, and His resurrection, as well as the fact that He holds the key to life and death:

“I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forever more. Amen. I have the keys of Hades and of Death” (Revelation 1:18).

“I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:9-10).

Cameron, you say you cannot really call yourself a Christian. You are right. In order to become a true Christian you must choose Christ and become spiritually born-again. Please believe in Christ and accept Him as your Lord and Savior; by doing so you become a true child of God, as Scripture teaches.

Recognize this dying world for what it is and the living risen Christ for Who He is. He is the way, the truth and the life. Only through Him can any of us escape the wrath that will be poured out during the soon coming prophesied seven-year Tribulation.

Only through Him can we be saved from an eternity of suffering. Please let go of preconceived ideas and lies of the devil that separate you from the living Christ and the abundant life that He wants so very much to share with you.

The devil, through the enticements of this world is trying to cleverly persuade everyone into thinking there is no need for the Savior. The devil only wants to hurt us, to rob us of our chance to have eternal freedom and life in Christ. He is playing a deadly game with a loaded gun aimed directly at each man, woman and child—never hesitating to pull the trigger.

Unless we are reconciled with Christ we are all in full firing-range of the devil and his loaded gun. When we choose salvation in Christ the devil is disarmed and we are made permanently victorious—our eternal destiny is shielded from any bullets he fires.

“You are of God little children, and have overcome them [the devil and his influences] because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4).

You can count on the Lord. He does not change:

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).

What does salvation in Jesus Christ really mean?

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved” (John 3:16-17).

“That if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved; for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth confesses, resulting in salvation” (Romans 10:9-10).

“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13).

We can have a close, personal relationship with the Lord when we are born-again by the Holy Spirit and come to repentance. The spiritual rebirth Jesus spoke of is necessary in order to be saved, in order to have a personal relationship with Him, and to be able to understand the Word of God through the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

“But the natural man [unsaved person] does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:14).

“Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born-again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born, can he?”

Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born-again'” (John 3:3-7).

“The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).

When we sincerely accept Christ and receive Him as our Lord and Savior, we are filled with God's Holy Spirit and are spiritually born-again. Water baptism is a public testimony showing we have placed our faith in Jesus. Being baptized as a child, a ritual performed by some religious groups will not get us into heaven. Neither will church or synagogue attendance.

Each person is personally accountable to God and must make his or her own decision to either accept or reject God's saving grace. God gave us free will. It is up to each of us to choose eternal life with God or eternal torment and separation from God. Choose Jesus Christ and you will be saved forever.

[Jesus said,] “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life” (John 5:24).

Christ took on the sins of the entire world through his death on the Cross to give us all the opportunity to be with Him for eternity and keep us from hell and the lake of fire (1 Timothy 4:10). He suffered for us, so we won't have to suffer an eternity of inconceivable torment. But each individual must choose either to accept Christ by following His commandment to be born-again, genuinely repenting and placing Him first. Or face an eternity of horror.

You can come to faith in Christ, and be born-again by praying a personal prayer of repentance and faith. The words you use are not important. Your sincerity and genuine commitment to the Lord is what counts. Saying a prayer, then walking away and forgetting about the Lord does not count for salvation. The sincere intent of your heart is what matters to God.

There has to be true repentance, a true change of heart; a repentant heart that will seek Him first and leave behind habits and lifestyles that are contrary to His will and His teachings.

If you are not sure what to say, follow this simple heartfelt prayer, but you must mean it with all your heart:

Heavenly Father, I accept your Son, Jesus Christ, as my Lord and Savior. I believe in His death, burial and resurrection. I realize I have made many mistakes in my life. I have been confused and deceived by the lies of this world. Please forgive me. I ask you to come into my life, regenerate me and fill me with your Holy Spirit so I can be born-again and saved by your grace. I want this to be a new beginning and to have a close, personal relationship with you. I want to learn more about you through prayer and careful Bible study. Help me to truly repent and live my life in a way that is pleasing to you. Please write my name into the Book of Life. I pray this in the Name of Jesus the Christ, the Messiah of Israel and of the world. Amen.

Cameron, please put away the Left Behind books and start reading and studying the Bible. I have shared a lot of information here to help you get started. Realize that you must take God's Word—the Bible seriously, and resolve to start a new life with Him at the forefront of your daily life. Seek out those who love the Lord and leave behind those who are the enemies of the Cross.

Cameron, please don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions. God loves you so very much and is waiting for you with open arms. Run to Him while you still can.

In God's love,

Esther

“And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air [the devil], of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience [the unsaved]” (Ephesians 2:1-2).