May 13, 2013
I write this to you in desperation for guidance. I have contemplated for some time emailing you, as I have never let this aspect of my life be known to anyone that doesn’t know both sides of the way I live. After reading the “Dear Esther” column, it was clear to me that this was an avenue I could reach out to.
I believe the advice you give to people who write is filled with compassion and biblically based values. I appreciate the way that you take on the burdens of others. It is to be commended and I hope that my story is not too much of a burden on you, but it was a relief to finally get this off my chest to someone that is not biased.
I want to say thank you for praying for me as you mentioned in you first email to me. A lot of people take the “I’ll pray for you” with a grain of salt. I dismiss this. I believe in the power of prayer wholeheartedly, that's why I am so disheartened, as I pray and pray and I cannot seem to overcome this, which is why, I believe I have been abandoned by God.
For some quick background, I was saved/accepted the Lord as my savior in 1986. Since that time, I have had times where I have been in the Word and full of faith and at sometimes in the world and miserable. I am in the latter now and have been for quite sometime.
I am now 41, married with two children. I have a great wife and my children are wonderful (6 and 4). However, I live a double life. On the outside, I go to church (two times a week) and use biblical values to raise my children. I have been at my same job now, for the same company, for 20 years.
The opposite side of this is I drink a lot and have bouts with drug use (cocaine). I keep these two parts of my life separate. My wife knows that I drink occasionally and has no idea about the drug use, which has gone on and off for the last 12 years.
I might be stating the obvious, but I am miserable and have been for a long time. I go to church and hear a message that punctures my heart and I return home and throw everything out (beer and drugs) and say to myself, “This is it! I must live right and for the Lord!” Within a few days, I find myself stopping at the local bar on my way home from work for drinks, then, it turns into making phone calls to set up the next deal with my “long time associate.”
The crux of the issue is I “feel” that I am too far gone from the Lord, for Him to accept me back. I know the Bible is clear in that He will never leave us of forsake us, but I just think that maybe this can’t be. I try and try and I always fail.
I have no doubt that when I accepted Christ, that it was genuine. I truly believe it was. But I am at the point that I think I have been left to my own accord. I know my salvation is faith-based and not works, but I feel abandoned.
I know rehab is not what I need, because when I am without the substances, I don’t feel the need to have them, but it has been such a habit on and off over the years it’s just “normal” now. I do hate it. I really do and feel horrible about the way I live. I know this seems like a contradiction, but its complicated.
I am to the point where it is not (has not been) fair to my family and my church. I look at my wife and children and it breaks my heart to know that I am doing this myself, to them (even though they don’t know), and most important─to my God─Jesus Christ. Let’s not forget my testimony. I have friends that know both the lives I lead. They are not saved and I am sure that my poor testimony is affecting them as well. This is a far-reaching issue.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated and thank you for reading. I want to beat this for God, family and peace. Oh how I desire that inner peace and joy I once had. It’s irreplaceable. I want to say thank you for praying for me. A lot of people take the “I’ll pray for you” with a grain of salt. I dismiss this. I believe in the power of prayer wholeheartedly, that's why I am so disheartened, as I pray and pray and I cannot seem to overcome this, which is why I believe God has abandoned me.
Like I previously wrote, I believe I have crossed God’s line and this is very frightening to me and I hope this is not the case, as I want to do what is right and someday, I want to hear, “Well done my good and faithful servant.” I hope that this will be the case.
Thank you for writing and confiding in me and giving me permission to share your dilemma with our readers. You are in no way a burden. Surely there is a solution and the solution is within you and with God. Trust that you can overcome this identity dysfunction. I commend you for your honesty with me. Clearly you are tortured inside. Alcohol and cocaine are insidious foes─as you well know.
I have been thinking and praying about your situation and I am fully confident that you can make a complete turn around with your life. PLEASE. It is up to you. You sound like a very intelligent man. If you don’t let go of the destructive behavior completely, mark my words you will so wish you had. Because at some point the truth is going to come out and believe me, it will be so devastating that you will be spinning. It is just not worth it. You are playing a very dangerous game with your life and the lives of others. I say this with love and for your own good, but it is time to grow-up emotionally and spiritually.
“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:2).
God will strengthen you each moment of the day and get you on the road to living your life to please Him, and help you not give in to what you call “habits,” once you fully surrender to Him and repent. Our lives need to evolve around the Lord not around ourselves─easier said than done sometimes. But when we are truly committed to the Lord and surrender our selfish will to His perfect will, then we can make great strides.
If the truth is exposed and your wife who has been left in the dark finds out from someone else, even if she forgives you, things would never be the same if you continue this charade. But your relationship could get much stronger and bring you closer to each other if you come clean with her. I KNOW YOU DON”T WANT TO HEAR THAT.
It is those who love you the most that can help you the most. Your wife could be very important to your healing and recovery. Sometimes it is very hard to put aside our pride and admit our weaknesses. No one wants to let anyone down but God is in the business of healing and recovery. I heard a pastor once say, “Our church is like a hospital for the wounded.”
You seriously have to consider telling your wife the truth. I know you know that it is morally wrong to do what you are doing by keeping so much from her. Wouldn’t it be terrible if she found out about your substance abuse because you got caught and were taken to jail? Or found the traces of your drugs in the house? You could even loose your job. Sometimes people who don’t get help loose everything before they admit that they need help and ongoing accountability. And how tragic is that?
Your wife and your children deserve better, and I know you know that. You owe them a decent life and not one that will cause them to feel shame. Do you know that the devil prowls around looking for whom he can pounce on and devour─especially lukewarm Christians? Seeking help and support can be an excruciating prospect but we all need help in different ways at different points in our lives. There is no shame in seeking help when we stumble. The shame is in not repenting and not getting right with those who trust us. Repent, means, “to turn away from.”
Whenever the devil can take down the testimony of a professing believer, he celebrates. How many pastors and prominent Christian leaders have brought shame to the cause of Christ? Far too many: to count. I think it is time for you to really sit down and start counting your blessings. Look at all you have. Do you want to loose everything? Do you have a death wish? Do you want your children and wife to suffer because of your recklessness? God has a way of pulling the rug out from under us when we are in chronic rebellion. I would not underestimate our heavenly Father when it comes to chastising His children.
Alcohol and drug “addicts” do not necessarily use every day. Sometimes, they use only once in a while. The problem is that they keep doing the same thing over and over, again and again and a vicious demoralizing pattern sets in. The issue is not the substance itself and why someone would defile their body, lie and live a hidden dark life. Those things are an outward manifestation of the sin nature.
I really care about my readers and I am extremely aware of the spiritual battle each one of us is faced with. Please know that there is nothing in this world that cannot be overcome with God’s help. I hate to say it, but that old Nike ad, “Just do it” is apropos here. Just do it and just say “no.” Don’t say, “Maybe, just this once” and give your flesh an opening for substance abuse. There is no middle ground here. Cast off all that hinders you.
“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:1).
Brian, that means you will have to cut-off your contacts with all those who have enabled you to destructively drink alcohol and consume cocaine. Some Christians feel it is okay to have a drink here and there. In your case it is never an option unless you want to continue on this downward spiral. And why allow yourself to get into a position where you loose control of yourself and open yourself up to dark entities? Anytime you alter your mind with any type of substance you invite all kinds of trouble.
Prayer is very powerful. But so is self-will. That is your battle and taking it a step further, demonic oppression can occur if we insist on playing on the devil’s playground. Then, when we cannot connect with the Lord and our prayers are hindered, Satan has succeeded in making us believe that God has abandoned us. You have a choice to make and you must make it soon. God is not mocked, but He is also very merciful compassionate. He will forgive you, but you must truly want to surrender your life to Him and repent. You must stop abandoning Him!
“I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I have not hidden. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,” and You forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah” (Psalm 32:5).
We should never put off making a decision to live for Christ, a decision that is genuine. In your case, it would mean a rededication. I believe you were sincere in you initial commitment to the Lord but you have not fully given your life to Him. You have one foot in the world and one foot in your church. It is time to fully rededicate your life to Him if you truly want to break this harrowing cycle.
You can go to the Lord directly with confession and repentance. It does not have to be a big outward public confession. Although, you might want to get baptized if you have not been as an outward expression of your renewed faith. Vow to use all the money you are flushing down the drain on drugs and alcohol to help others in need. In fact that is what I recommend to you to help you turn the corner. Search out a situation where there is tremendous need. So many Christians are in need. The more you start giving of yourself, the closer you will get to the Lord. And the less you will want to compromise your own life and take God’s blessings for granted.
If you know of even one person, a strong Christian you think you can trust and would be willing to give you moral support that would be a good option for you. Others have been in your shoes. We all fall short. It sounds like you must have some caring friends from your church. I know you said you don’t feel you need rehab because when you aren’t using you don’t feel you “need” to. Okay. So for twelve long years you have repeatedly gone back to doing something after that is causing you misery? This is more than a bad habit, Brian.
Rehab is a word that is thrown around too much. What you need is accountability. You have made well-meaning declarations to stop using but you have not been able to. No one who uses thinks they need rehab. But you may be emotionally and psychologically addicted. I absolutely do not recommend groups like AA, but it would not hurt to call around to find a Christian support group experienced with what you are going through.
Considering how long this destructive pattern has been going on, you could at least make a phone call and talk to someone who can help you get the support you need. You are not alone in your sin. Many Christians have had serious battles at various times in their lives. You do need support from caring believers (Galatians 6:1-5). Genuine Christians are not perfect people, but they are forgiven by God’s mercy and abiding grace. And they should be right there for you helping you get through this.
I will keep praying with you. You are not too far-gone for God to embrace you, but I can understand why you would feel frightened. But God is there for you. He does love you so very much. But you must choose, Brian, between Him and the world. Please choose Him. Stay away from bars and from your unsaved unscrupulous friends who are the devil’s emissaries.
Without ongoing support from others who can relate to your situation your future and your family’s future may be very grim. Occasionally a person is quickly healed from a drug or alcohol habit but it is rare. God may want you to connect with certain people who might have some impact for your future and God’s plans for your future. You might be the one to help others who are struggling like you are, once you get past all of this.
Keep the precious faces of your children in front of your mind. They need their father more than you need your drugs. I am sure this is tearing you up inside. You must trust that there is a way out and the answer is that you must to choose to totally surrender your life to the Lord once and for all.
Replace your destructive habits by seriously studying the Word of God and reaching out to others. We are without a doubt living in the last days. Jesus is the Great Physician and His Word is like medicine, truly a healing salve. Do your homework, read and study the Scriptures and get strong in your faith by sharing the gospel and warn others how close we are prophetically to His return.
By giving of yourself you will see how much you have and how little some others have. God has blessed you greatly with money to burn and a beautiful family. A steady job of twenty-years is something millions of people would love to have. Now be like the prodigal son and run home to Him. He is waiting for you with open arms.
“For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive, and abundant in mercy to all those who call upon You” (Psalm 86:5).
Please read and contemplate Psalm 143. If you can, also read it aloud many times so you can hear the words.
I am here for you praying and rooting for you. Please keep in touch and let me know how you are doing.
In God’s love,
“Bless the LORD, O my soul and all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases, Who redeems your life from destruction, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies, Who satisfies your mouth with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s” (Psalm 103:1-5).
May 6, 2013
My name is Nick. My family is going through a rough time and I knew you and Rapture Ready could help.
In January 2012 God blessed me with the most amazing woman I have ever met. She is five years older than me and has three kids from a previous marriage, two girls; now 16 and 13 and one boy who is 11. They are an amazing family. They love the Lord, and do their best to please Him every day. After dating for a short time we got married in September 2012. Everything was perfect. They are great kids and I love them as my own. The problem is the oldest daughter. I'll call Linda.
At first Linda was the most amazing kid I have ever met. She was quiet, soft-spoken and very respectful. Though she has a lot of friends she generally preferred to stay home. Since before I met them they went to church every Sunday and youth group every Wednesday. All three kids loved the Lord and tried to please Him every day. Six months ago Linda started dating a boy from her public school, I’ll call Pete. Pete is an exchange student from Italy, and was raised believing God does not exist and therefore does not have morals that would please God.
As time goes on Linda has started lying to her mother so she can go places where she is not allowed, (parties, friends’ houses without adult supervision). Linda has always said she will not have sex until married but over the past month or so Pete is trying to pressure her into having sex with him. She confessed to her mother about a month ago while at Pete’s host parents house without supervision, she allowed him to touch her private areas.
As much as this has devastated her mother and me, it gets worse. She has become extremely argumentative, disrespectful and down right nasty to her mother. The thing that worries me the most is she told her mother two weeks ago she is now agnostic and is not sure God even exists. I know Pete is filling her head with this. By talking to her I have learned that their church is a lot more liberal than I first thought. Due to my work schedule, I was only able to go to church with them about once a month, but I am now responsible for my own scheduling so this will change and I will soon be able to go weekly.
The youth pastor and his wife recently got tattoos and now all the youth want one too. Every time Linda’s mother and I try to talk to her she goes into a fit of rage and accuses us of judging her. We try to assure her that we are only looking out for her best interest. Because of Peter and the youth group, she is starting to believe parts of the Bible are outdated. Though I have not told her this, I believe she wants to be able to commit certain sins and not have to have the guilt that should come along with it. She is being taught from two fronts that certain laws in the Bible are now obsolete.
Linda and Pete now say horrible things about her mother, how insane and over protective she is. She speaks to her mother with foul language and disrespects her on social media for all to see. Her youth pastor can see all this yet says nothing. I am doing my best to redirect her in the right direction. I try to be non-judgmental, and non-confrontational when I try to talk to her but she refuses to listen. The people around her are trying to destroy her and I feel helpless to stop it.
Her mother is heartbroken by how her own daughter can say such horrible things, lie, and cause so much turmoil for her family. I don’t like how the younger two have to be exposed to this as they look up to their older sister. What can I say or do to help her? I am totally clueless on how to confront these issues and get her to listen and understand. I’m not trying to judge her, just to protect her from all the evil she is exposed to. I’m sorry for the long letter, but I’m desperate. Thank you for your time and God bless.
Your situation with Linda is very serious and at this point I would not worry about being judgmental. You should be judgmental when your children are clearly doing things that will harm them. Linda is taking what Scripture teaches about not being judgmental out of context to try to support her sinful behavior. We are to judge righteously and carefully and not based solely on appearance (John 7:24). We must be careful how we judge for the way we judge others we will be judge (Matthew 7:1-2). In this case the problems are evident and you are not making “judgments’ based on weak personal opinion. Linda’s bad behavior is in your face.
I generally don’t recommend specific churches but I would see if you have any Calvary Chapel churches in your area. Some of them are good and have small schools that are available to those who attend the church regularly. They also have Wednesday night youth groups and counseling available. Please see what you have in your area and immediately get out of the church that your family has been going to.
Tough love must be used here. Linda’s entire future is at stake, and that of the younger children as well. In no way should she be having any type of sexual relations with anyone or using such foul language, although the world promotes this. As her father, I would ask you to speak to the boyfriend and his host parents together and put a stop to this relationship.
It is one thing to have friendships, but dating at that age is an open door to trouble, although the world teaches the opposite. As far as what to say to Linda, speak to her with your wife again. But before you do, sit down with your wife and go over some key points about how things are going to be from here on in. Write them down. That way what you say to her will be clear. And then when you and your wife are ready, call her into the family room and talk to her.
Tell her that her behavior is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. When she starts getting argumentative say, “What you just said is a perfect example of why things are going to be different from now on.” Since she is also using social media to attack her mother, seriously consider taking away her computer and phone privileges until she starts behaving like a young lady again. Make her remove all the nasty comments she made.
Explain to her that she has become a totally rude and disrespectful person from the precious young girl that she was, and that she is creating a life of misery for herself and the rest of her family and that it is you and her mother that are supporting her – and that she needs to get back in touch with reality and the true teachings of the Bible. Tell her she needs to regain and earn your trust again because of her recent outrageous and selfish behavior. Explain to her how it breaks your heart that she is spitting in the face of those who truly love her. Set down the rules where she can only visit with her friends in your home.
Tell her that the boyfriend is off-limits. He is untrustworthy and using her and that you are going to speak to him and his host parents. Let Pete know you are aware of how he has already defiled your daughter and is pushing to get more sex from her and that the things he says about your wife on the social media sites will not be tolerated and that he is not to interact with your daughter anymore. Do this in the presence of his host parents. Unless you and your wife lovingly but firmly step in, the situation will only get worse.
When she gets upset about all of this tell her it is her own doing and she has proven that she cannot be trusted at this time. She made some very bad choices and choices have consequences. And you are doing it for her, own good. But be sure you speak to her together with her mother.
This is not going to be easy. Expect a tantrum.
As her parents, getting her out of the public school if at all possible should be a high priority. Otherwise you will be battling with the moral decay and godlessness that is prevalent in the majority of such “schools.” If you cannot do that, please find Christian-based extra-curricular activities to get involved in to get her away from the constant influence of the “friends” who are a bad influence. Summer is nearly upon us, look in your area for situations that are edifying for teens sponsored by true Bible believing and teaching Christian ministries.
I do know of a Christian camp in California (Hartland Christian Camp), which has great reviews from what I have been told by some people who have attended. Lives have been changed at that camp. Jesus is glorified in their programs. I will leave you their website link at the end of this letter. You can call them and explain your situation with her and see if they might have something to help her get back on track with the Lord. Even if you can’t send her there or attend as a family, perhaps they could advise you about your situation. They might know of something in your area that Linda could get involved in with real Bible believing Christians.
Dating is not something the Bible teaches, especially for young people. Godly friendships, true friendships, lead to godly marriages or strong relationships as brothers and sisters in the Lord. Teens are not always ready to totally fend off bad influences and overt sexual pressure, and Linda is a perfect example. She is in a situation where she is constantly tempted with the godless peer pressure and ungodly teachings. Teens exposed to liberal teachings in schools and churches are generally way in over their heads with things they should not be into.
Unfortunately far too many churches are very disconnected from the Bible these days and are Christian in name only. And it is up to you and your wife to make the best choices possible for your children and closely monitor what is going on, on a daily basis. It is a tough challenge when families are trying to make a living and trying to be good parents at the same time.
We all need to be studying the Bible every day. Linda needs a crash course right now. To start, you could use some outside help in the form of DVDs. As a family, you could gather together and view some good DVDs that deal with especially the last days and Bible prophecy. This might help her to get back to the truth. Considering Linda was once a sweet girl and a believer, there is much hope. Show her in Scripture that the things that are happening today were prophesied long ago, and there is a very tough time coming upon the world and without Jesus in her life she will be left behind to suffer. Not only that, if she died tomorrow does she want to take a chance that everything she learned about God is suddenly a lie?
The boyfriend thing must stop. He is directly corrupting her. He is like Satan’s representative. All was well in your family and now because of one bad influence the entire family is in chaos. Linda is in a rebellious state but you and your wife have more power over her than you think. She must be reprimanded for her behavior. Using vulgar language is absolutely not acceptable and all the lying and sneaking around cannot be tolerated. Pete is all out for himself. Hopefully there will be a fast plane leaving for Italy sometime in the near future. We can pray for him as the contrails leave their mark in the atmosphere as he leaves the United States.
You took on a huge responsibility when you got married and became an instant father. You sound like an exceptional and wonderful man. After you and your wife lay down the law, after a couple of days, I suggest writing Linda a nice note expressing how much you love her and that you can see things from a different perspective than she can and that it is your duty to protect her. Tell her since you are a man you understand how other men and boys think when they are not living by biblical principals.
Explain to her if someone really cares about her they would be respectful and not cause her to do things that she already knows are wrong and will come back to haunt her one day. And be sure to tell her that you will always be there for her. When she is all settled into bed one night, take her something she loves like flowers or a favorite “whatever” with your note attached to it and give it to her. Tell her you love her and then just leave the room and say goodnight. If she wants to talk nicely, of course do so. Step by step with God’s help you and your wife can help bring Linda back to you and to Him.
If she behaves badly and tears up the note, try not to take it personally. You are in the midst of a spiritual battle and Linda is the target to pull apart your entire family. I don’t know what the situation is regarding her birth father but that may be something that she is hurting about inside. She needs all the love she can get, but that does not mean she can abuse others.
The more you become a stable part of her life will help her a lot. Tell her you are always going to be there for her and that you will always love her. She lost her birth father to some degree, now a fast-talking young guy comes along that she thinks cares about her and she could be looking to him for approval and security. But she is blinded by whatever she finds appealing about him and has no discernment about his wicked motives.
I personally will be praying for your family. God is not going to let you down. But please do everything possible to intervene and break these bad habits that Linda has gotten into. You must take swift action. Pray together with your wife that the evil influences against your family will be broken. Pray with the children. Be sure to explain to the younger children that their sister is very confused right now and not to get caught-up in her drama.
Be sure to get them involved in a real Bible believing environment, too. Consider starting some home Bible studies with some close Christian friends that would create a God-centered atmosphere in your home. And as I suggested in last week’s column to Caroline, keep some good soothing Christian music playing frequently in your home. Be sure to lead your family in Bible study, and considering how young the kids are, using additional materials like DVDs which teach various biblical topics like creation, etc. would be a good approach. Please let me know how things are going as you make these changes for the better. God has entrusted you with this family and He is going to help you get through this.
In God’s love,
“ For with God nothing will be impossible” (Luke 1:37).
Apr 29, 2013
I look forward to reading your wonderful column every week. Can you give me some hope for the future? With everything that is happening in this world I am beginning to feel somewhat paralyzed emotionally. Innocent people all over the world are getting hurt. I am really afraid what might happen to me, and my family. I have two children, ages 12 and 14. They are starting to feel nervous and afraid about going to even basic school events at their Christian school worried that something could happen to them.
I do try to reassure them that everything is all right but honestly it is all getting too unsettling. I do read the Bible but I cannot seem to get past this fear. Everyone in our household is saved except my husband. He watches TV all night after work and doesn’t have much to say about world events. He doesn’t think anything unusual is happening in the world and laughs off Bible prophecy and thinks the Bible is about as reliable as an old phone book. I feel the burden is on me to help our children feel safe.
Our great and blessed hope of course, is Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, the mighty King and Creator. The day is soon coming when He will take His rightful place on the throne of David and will be literally reigning and ruling over a rejuvenated planet Earth. This is something to keep in mind each time you and your children feel hopeless and scared.
Everything seems to be getting out of control all around the world but God promises to return and dramatically change this fallen world, and all believers are to be partakers of His coming millennial kingdom. Before all hell breaks loose, before the Tribulation begins, all true born-again believers will be lifted-up to glory and safety by the Lord Himself in the Rapture. After the seven-year Tribulation we will return with Him and his holy angels and assist Him with His 1000-year millennial reign.
It is not unusual to be feeling stressed and scared considering the state of affairs in this wicked world. Our flesh is weak and if we give in to fear then we could surely become incapacitated from hearing and seeing the news reports. But all genuine born-again believers are indwelt with the Holy Spirit. The Lord has promised never to leave us or forsake us. We are His children and He is our Protector. We can take comfort in knowing that wherever we go and whatever we do the Lord is with us, guiding us and ministering to us. It is our job as believers to stay in prayer and communicate with Him – by quieting our minds so we can discern His will and guidance for our lives.
We know that the devil prowls around like a roaring lion like seeking whom, he can devour (1 Peter 5:8). He does this by leading his demonic armies into acts of aggression and terror in the spiritual realm, which is manifested outwardly in the physical world. Perpetuating fear is always the devil’s doing but when we belong to Christ, we are covered by His blood sacrifice and the devil is defeated. Satan will always try to harass believers but greater is HE who is in us than he who is in the world. So whenever you and your kids start feeling fearful, say these Scriptures aloud:
“You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4).
Please keep reading your Bible and consciously make an effort to take your reading and Bible study to a deeper level. I strongly suggest reading the Scriptures aloud. There is something about hearing the Word of God out loud as it penetrates deep into our hearts and minds. You can do this with your two children every day. Take turns reading the Scriptures to each other.
Each time you hear and read God’s Word you are feeding your faith. The more you read and study, the more your faith will grow, and the less anxiety you will feel about today and the future. Encourage your children to get very involved with you and other believers in Bible studies─reading the Lord’s faithful promises. Believers need not be slaves to fear. We don’t have to be afraid if God is our helper.
“For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father” (Romans 8:15).
If you are involved in good church or have some other Christian friends make a point of meeting together to encourage one another. Instead of watching and listening to news reports spend that time immersed in the Word of God, listening to sermons and reading spiritual books. Write out some encouraging Scriptures for your children on nice sheets of paper each day and place them in their backpacks.
Text them or email them during the day with encouraging Bible verses to help keep them grounded in God’s Word. Reassure them that they are not alone and that God is with them. Fill your home with beautiful Christian songs of praise and worship. Ask your children to help pick out some favorites, and if you can afford it, take them to a Christian bookstore or browse the Internet together and add let them choose some new CD titles that they can listen to and call their own.
What we fill our minds with is very important. I am reminded of a song often taught to young children. Since the Lord tells us we must be like a child to enter the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 18:13), these lyrics are wonderful for anyone to contemplate on:
Oh, be careful little ears, what you hear
For the Father up above,
Is looking down in love,
So be careful little ears
what you hear.
Oh, be careful little eyes, what you see,
For the Father up above,
is looking down in love,
So be careful little eyes
What you see.
Oh, be careful little mouth, what you say,
For the Father up above,
Is looking down in love,
So be careful little
mouth what you say.
Oh, be careful little hands, what you do
For the Father up above,
Is looking down in love,
So be careful little hands
What you do.
Oh, be careful little feet where you go
For the Father up above,
Is looking down in love,
So be careful little feet,
Where you go.
Oh, be careful little mind what you think
For the Father up above,
Is looking down in love,
So be careful little mind,
What you think.
Oh, be careful little heart what you love
For the Father up above,
Is looking down in love,
So be careful little heart,
What you love.
Caroline, keep communicating with the Lord throughout each day and teach your children to do the same. No matter what happens in this world, we have eternity with the Lord to look forward to. We cannot be shielded from all the bad news and negativity but we can keep it all in perspective in relation to Scripture. As we see things get more and more absurd, rest asssured that the Lord’s return cannot be far off.
As far as your husband is concerned, pray for him faithfully and ask the Lord to remove the spiritual blindeness from his eyes, heart and mind. And be grateful that your kids are able to go to a Christian school which shows he must not be totally against the faith, but of course that won’t get him into heaven. Praying for our unsaved loved ones is so important and very powerful. Ideally, it would be wonderful if you could lean on your husband, but God will carry you and strengthen you as you continue to reach out to Him.
God bless you!
He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress;
My God, in Him I will trust” (Psalm 91:1-2).
Apr 22, 2013
My husband and I have five grandchildren between the two of us ranging in age from 10 to 18 years old. My three youngest grandchildren live with their Christian mother, so are attending church and living in a Christian home. My 17-year old grandson, and my husband’s, 18-year old grandson live in decidedly UNChristian homes. There is no Christian influence in their lives on a daily basis.
Both of these grandsons know we are Christians, and we try as often as possible to have an influence on them for the Lord, but we would like to do more, and aren’t sure how to reach them. The boys don’t want to go to church with us (one of them has a job which requires him to work every Sunday).
Even though we try to be as loving, giving, and supportive as possible, we know that this isn’t enough to make our grandsons desire to become Christians. The only thing I can think of is to sit down with each of the boys and be right to the point with them, telling them that if they died right now, they’d die in their sins and go to hell, and explain the gospel to them.
Do you have any ideas about how to approach this, or any ideas about how to reach these boys? It breaks our hearts to think of going to heaven without our grandchildren, but we just aren't sure of the correct ways to try to reach them.
Thank you for any suggestions you might have,
Your problem is a common one, I am sorry to say. Of course we know that the upbringing and education of our children can have strong impact upon their beliefs. As believers, it is our job to share the salvation message, pray for the unsaved and reach our children as soon as possible. Our great Advocate, the Lord Himself knows every last detail of your dilemma. If you have never actually shared the gospel with your unsaved grandchildren, it is important that you do so.
We live at a time when many people think that we have to use some sort of gimmick to reach others for the Lord. The best approach is what you mention, to speak to your grandchildren directly and lovingly straight from the Scriptures. One thing I would strongly recommend is to use Bible prophecy to appeal to your grandsons. Show them Scriptures that point to some future prophecies and prophecies that have already been fulfilled. Most non-Christians think the Bible is just a book of myths.
There were over 300 Old Testament prophecies alone about the Messiah fulfilled by the life of Jesus Christ. Israel is very central to biblical prophecy. I would suggest doing your homework on prophecy if you need to so you and your husband will be able to show your grandsons directly in the Bible fulfilled prophecy and future prophecies. Try to explain to them that we are living in the last days and that overall world conditions will continue to deteriorate. If they can begin to understand that Jesus is their great and only hope and not the ways of the world, they might start to think about how they are living their lives.
Especially study and share the books of Daniel, Jeremiah, Joel, Ezekiel, Matthew and Revelation. An excellent book on Bible prophecy, spiritual warfare and salvation issues is the new expanded edition of A Better World Is Coming Soon - Don’t Miss It by Kit Olsen (currently featured on Rapture Ready) and available on Amazon. It is packed with a lot of information and resources great for the unsaved as well as dedicated believers.
Once we share the salvation message in all sincerity, then we must continue to pray for our unsaved loved ones and then allow the Holy Spirit to His work on them. At some point, each one of us had to make a decision for Christ. For some of us it was a quick, straightforward decision and for others it took many years. We must be patient with our unsaved loved ones, but at the same time stress that death can be a very imminent event. None of us know when we will take our last breath.
Each and every believer was unsaved at one time so there is great hope that your teenage grandsons will also get saved. Prayer is much more powerful than pleading and using other tactics. Once you deliver the salvation message and share some prophetic information continue to be vigilant in praying for your grandsons.
Becky, pray with all your heart that the Holy Spirit will touch your loved ones to open their hearts and minds to the truth of our Savior. One day your grandsons will thank you.
“The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (James 5:16b).
God bless you,
“Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen” (Ephesians 3:20-21).
I want to thank you for all the wonderful help you have given to me in the past with questions I have had. I was wondering if you could help me again. I am married to the most wonderful and loving man, ever. He is my best friend. We have been together for sixteen years, and married for thirteen. We have five kids between us from previous marriages but none together. Our kids, love each other like they all came from my womb, and we both love each other’s kids like they were our own.
My problem is my in-laws. Every year for the last sixteen years, my mother-in-law and sisters-in-law demand that we go to my mother-in-law’s home for every holiday. EVERY holiday! When we go, my kids and I are ignored. When I try to have holidays with my family my mother-in-law calls me and cries until I give in and go to her house, which hurts my family. My sister-in laws have been rude to me, and blame me when I don’t go. (I have many health problems, type 1 diabetes RA, fibromyalgia, nerve damage, and colon cancer.) When I was told that I have colon cancer this last November, God told me to trust in Him and he would take care of it…and He did. They removed eighteen inches of my colon and fifty-five lymph nodes and praise God no cancer in them (the nodes) so no chemo, but the whole time I was in the hospital and the eight weeks of recovery I never got a phone call or a visit from my sister-in-laws.
My mother-in-law did call the day of surgery, but no visits or phone calls after. I guess what I’m asking is this: “Do I have to go where I’m not wanted?” I try to explain this to my husband and he can’t ever stand up for me against his mother or family. I have treated my in-laws lovingly. I call them and send text messages to them, that I love them. When they are sick I help them and send cards and call them. I just don’t understand what is going on. Will God be mad at me if I just leave them alone, but still love them? Please help. I pray for them every day, for their salvation. By the way they do believe in God. I don’t want God angry with me. Help! Thank you, and the Lord’s blessings to you.
Wow. Can we say in-laws from hell? A few things jump out at me from your letter. First, you say that you have the most loving and wonderful husband in the world─that he is your best friend. Okay. Then you tell me that your in-laws, his mother and sisters, manipulate him and you, so they will get their way. So for the past sixteen years you have accommodated them at the expense of your children’s feelings and your own. And you have a had a series of very difficult and serious health issues but your best friend’s family members are nowhere to be found when you need them. And to top it all off, when you do go to the your mother in law’s house you and your children are ignored? And then by the way, the in-laws do “believe” in God. (So does the devil, believe in God.) Now, if what I have just outlined here is correct then you are involved with a bunch of self-centered, rude, ungodly, uncaring, pathetic, narcissistic in-laws who behave shamefully.
What bothers me a great deal is that your husband does not stand up to his selfish, unloving, inconsiderate mother and sisters. You and your children have been treated very badly and unless your husband toughens up and stands up for you and your children I see no resolution to this chronic conflict except for one exception, which most likely will bring forth a change in dynamics between you and your husband. It sounds like it is time for your husband to take the Scripture below seriously.
“Therefore a man shall, leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24).
It is his place to protect you and his children from being hurt by others and that includes unkind family members. If a man is not the protector of his family, then he is failing at his obligation. But you say you have already talked to him and he can’t stand up to his mother and sisters. That leaves you with two options. You can continue on as you have been to your own demise and that of your children, or you lovingly but firmly put an end to this charade, yourself
Remind your best friend─your husband, that you love him with all your heart and that is why you have put up with this situation for so long. But you are at a point now, especially with your multiple health problems that things must change for your own well-being as well as your children’s. Especially, during holidays when time spent together should be joyous celebrations, not dreadful obligations.
Explain to your husband that so many health problems are directly affected by stress and that these situations with your in-laws are very stress-filled and you cannot take on any more. If you have a good general practitioner perhaps he or she would come to your aide and confirm that being subjected to hostile situations is not good for you (or your children). Your husband will have a choice to make. Will he please his own immediate family and start celebrating the holidays in his own home and let go of the strings that are strangling his wife and children or will he fold and allow you and your children to be treated badly?
Chances are that your husband’s mother and sisters will probably not come to your home for the holidays if you invite them, as they seem to have their own agenda etched in stone. But invite them anyway to be hospitable. Of course they won’t like it. If your husband insists that you all go to his mother’s house and continue on this destructive road then I would ask you to seek out a good pastor and ask him for his support and have a meeting with him with your husband.
As wonderful as your husband may be in many ways, he needs to realize that he is seriously hurting you and your children by allowing this situation to persist. It is his place to exhibit strong leadership and tell his mother and sisters not to harass you by trying to blame your illness for breaking-up their plans, and to stop treating you and your children like they don’t exist when you are all gathered together in their presence. You are at a disadvantage when you walk into your mother-in-law’s house, as you are walking into her turf─enemy territory so it seems. If you must spend any time with them at all, do it in your own home or in a public setting. So to answer your question, “No, you don’t have to go where you are not wanted.”
We know that God can radically change things. But these things often take time. Pray for your husband, that the Lord would show him that this weakness he has is wrong. And continue to pray for your unsaved in-laws. They are in serious need of deliverance. When you think of them, realize that they are very lost. God is not going to be angry with you for standing up for yourself and your children. Continue to be loving and kind when you do have to interact with them but you are not obligated to allow anyone to mistreat you and your children. I have often heard of families moving to different cities and states to get away form toxic in-laws; that way the contact is kept to a minimum.
If you visit a church regularly, have you considered inviting your in-laws? That might be something that you can all do together. But that might be wishful thinking, at this time, anyway. It is evident that you can expect nothing good from these people, so don’t place undue expectations on the situation. Put your energy into your children and growing your relationship with the Lord. Study the Psalms, especially.
As I have said many times in my other letters, prayer is our most powerful tool and when we faithfully petition the Lord He does answer our prayers. God can change hardened hearts and rude personalities but people have free will to choose God and live by His principles or reject Him. The most loving thing you can do for these people is continue to keep them in prayer, forgive them always in your heart but don’t get caught up in their drama.
It is important that you get as healthy as possible. You do not need to be placed in a situation that is clearly abusive. Let’s see, the next holiday is Mother’s Day. Send your mother-in-law a card, and ask your husband to have a cookout for you at home. If he doesn’t fire-up the grill because he is at his mother’s house, do it yourself and enjoy the day with your kids. And keep praying that the Lord will help him realize where his first loyalty and obligations belong.
In God’s love,
“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18)
Apr 8, 2013
I am wondering how to help friends who are struggling financially. We know several families who are barely making ends meet due to layoffs, injuries, etc. One family in particular is in serious trouble. We have been trying to help them out in small ways like supplying dinner whenever we get together, babysitting for free, treating their children to outings like the zoo and hiring them for odd jobs like pet sitting.
While they have never flat out asked for money, they often hint that they need cash. Our area has been particularly hard hit economically and our church no longer gives direct assistance to individuals. Instead they refer people to community organizations. We have suggested they look into various program but aren’t sure if they have followed up on any of them, although we know they do get some sort of government assistance.
We are fortunate that my husband has a good paying steady job, and we want to be generous. But at the same time, we are on a budget providing for our own children, trying to pay down debt and investing for our future. We have given money to other friends in the past and it always ends badly. Plus, even if we help now, what happens when the same bills roll in next month and they still can't cover it?
What, if anything, should we do to help our friends? Thank you for any advice or insight.
First of all, the Christian church in general has fallen short of its obligation to care for one another. This is symptomatic of the downward spiral of this day and age. The Scriptures teach that the church should help provide for those congregants in need, especially when their family cannot. Not as a social welfare program but as brothers and sisters in the Lord. Instead, as you say, those in need are sent to community and government agencies. We are taught to live in the world but not be of the world, but then when it comes to needing real help, today the church says, “Go to the world.” Although there are still some good churches that lovingly try to do what they can.
A good church should have a way to provide in some way for those in need (James 2:15-17 and Galatians 6:10). But our church “system” is rarely a closely tied group these days. We don’t always pull together and carry each other’s burdens in ways that we should. So as believers who comprise the Body of Christ, we should do what we can for each other individually, especially when the hierarchy of a church is neglectful.
Many innovative things could be done, but most churches lack leadership in the way God intended. The Christian church as a whole is weak in its bond together. Have you ever noticed how strongly Mormons stick closely together and help each other very generously? What a slap in God’s face, when it is the true Christians that should be knit tightly together.
So with that being said, I would say the best way to provide from your small corner of the world is the way you have been doing already, especially for the sake of the children. It sounds like you are concerned if you do give cash that it might
be expected again. Also, it is true that there are those who take advantage of others and are not doing everything possible to turn their situation around. In your case, I would step back and continue to carefully assess the situation. It is hard to determine if the family you are most concerned about would try to become dependent on your family -- if you do give them some cash.
Perhaps if you and your husband want to give your friends who have the greatest need a one-time cash gift, you could sit down with them and tell them it is a one-time gift to help them get on their feet, and that you would like to do more but have so many of your own responsibilities and expenses (debts) that there is no way you could do it again. Explain to them how you are concerned that this situation could become problematic because you cannot take on the burden of feeling the need to do more when you must be wise stewards to be able to meet your own obligations. Then lead them to the Scriptures about God’s providence; God blesses those who take refuge in Him. The entire book of Ruth reveals this beautifully.
Encourage your friends to put their full faith and trust in the Lord. Hopefully the man of the house is strong enough emotionally and spiritually to realize that he needs to do everything possible to provide for his family, and by humbly seeking the Lord, things can get much better for him and his family regardless of a down economy.
If you do give a money gift, and your friendship does take a turn for the worse because they expect more, you will have still done something good and you can rest assured that you are not obligated to keep paying their way. If the entire thing blows up then so be it. It won’t be because you and your family have not been kind.
But the Bible does not support helping those who have a way to work but choose not to because they are lazy, irresponsible and do not provide for their family” (2 Thessalonians 3:10-12, 1 Timothy 5:8).
Give from your heart as unto the Lord and try not to be attached to the outcome. We can’t control what others will say or do. If you do have some cash that you can live without, give it unless you detect that the head of the household is not really trying to improve the situation for his family. God will bless you for your generosity.
When someone is really suffering from a lack of money, even a small money gift can be a huge welcome relief and act as a positive glimmer of hope. And remember, when it is all said and done – it is what we do here on earth in the name of the Lord that matters. Trust that He will continue to provide for your family as you help others in need as best you can, without placing your own family in jeopardy.
“And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith” (Galatians 6:9-10).
Scripture does teach that the Lord loves a “cheerful giver” and especially when it comes to children. I am going to list for you some Scriptures that deal with the topic of giving: 2 Corinthians 8:1-5; 2; 2 Corinthians 9:6-7; 1 Timothy 6:17-19; 1 Corinthians 16:1-2; Matthew 6:1-4; Proverbs 19:17; Proverbs 22:9; Matthew 10:42; 1 John 3:16-18; Proverbs 11:24-25; Acts 20:35.
Be sure to pray carefully about all of this before taking any specific action. God will guide you. It is obvious that you are a kind, caring, giving individual.
God bless you for your caring heart, Emily.
“Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it, according to your means. For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what one does not have” (2 Corinthians 8:11-12).
Apr 1, 2013
I’ve always been blessed and thankful to our heavenly Father. I have an excellent job that I work very hard at. I have family, friends, and good health and have so much to be thankful for. My company last year announced a massive reduction in force to happen this February 2013. When they announced this I started thinking of opening my own business. I prayed night after night that I would be part of the reduction and would receive a modest severance to start my own business in which I would work “normal” hours. To my dismay in February, every one of my co-workers in three departments were let go except me, and I also received a promotion last week.
The company plans to bring in contractors for all my co-workers who were let go. I know I should again be thankful, but I’m having a terrible time with it for different reasons. First, I work long hours at the job, and I had wanted more time to spend with my family and friends, and to go back to church. Two, I now have survivor guilt. And three, with the promotion I will now be working even longer hours. My Mom (64) told me God has a reason for everything and a plan.
My question is how do I listen better spiritually to know whether I should trust God that I should open my own business anyway (take out a loan) and that it will succeed, and that I’ll still be able to pay my bills? Or do I continue working long hours as much as 90 hours a week (including weekends) with no time for family, friends and church?
I’m just so very confused because I don’t understand the plan God has for me. I prayed and prayed I would have more time to go back to church. And why was I the only person that was not laid off. I’m so tired of the long hours. Just so very confused. Are there certain Bible Scriptures I could read that would help me, and bring me comfort? When I was younger I used to go to church all the time, but the last 35 plus years my life has been devoted to my career and nothing else. I can feel our time is short, and I want to get closer to the Lord again. However with the long hours and stress I don’t even have time for myself.
I thank you kindly, and God bless you.
When I first read through your letter all I could think of is this: “It’s time for this precious lady to make some serious choices and decide if she is going to put God first in her life or keep working herself into oblivion.”
What is the point of continuing, as you are when it is clearly causing you severe anguish?
It sounds like you sincerely want to make a change in your life but are so involved in your current lifestyle that you cannot see clearly how to take the steps you need to make the positive changes; changes that will give you the peace and harmony that you need in your life. Starting your own business doesn’t necessarily mean you will have to work fewer hours. With any business unexpected things can come up, and it will be you that will have to hold things together. And we can’t be sure how the business will do and if you will be able to pay your bills. But many small businesses have succeeded and yours can too, but what you must be careful of is that you are not walking away from one overly taxing situation into another.
Not all promotions and things that seem favorable to us are always from the Lord. Especially when we are not in strong communication with Him. I could list a number of things that from the outside looking in could appear to be a blessing when in fact they are just deceptive ways for the enemy to take up our time and keep us from having a real relationship with God. Someone into New Age philosophers would probably say, “See how only you were left at the job. It’s meant to be!” But the reality is, you are seriously stressed. You are grateful and thankful for your “blessings” but nevertheless out of balance and unable to enjoy your life, despite the success of your career.
I have thought carefully and prayed about your situation for some time now, since I received your letter. You wrote that you, “prayed night after night” to be part of the reduction, etc., yet your job has survived and now the company wants even more of you. In a down economy that is very impressive, by the world’s standards. You also wrote, “When I was younger I used to go to church all the time, but the last 35 plus years my life has been devoted to my career and nothing else.” The “nothing else” is the scary part.
Thirty-five years is a long time. When we are so busy that we can barely have a consistent abiding relationship with the Lord, and totally consumed with a career as you are, then we have fallen short (sinned against God). We all sin against God, and we all do this in different ways. But a time comes when we must choose between the ways of the Lord or the ways of the world. Your time has come.
You are confused because you are not in step with the Lord. All of this reminds me of the lyrics from an old Jackson Browne song, “Running on Empty.” Even the words of a popular secular song can be used to show how we are empty without the Lord first in our lives, although of course that was not the songwriter’s intent. What he didn’t get is that he was running on empty because he was lost without God in his life.
“Running on-running on empty, running on-running blind. Running on running into the sun. But I'm running behind.”
You also wrote, “I am so tired of the long hours.” Trudy, you are a slave to your job. Can you somehow modify your lifestyle so you don’t need to work so many hours? Can you find a way to make a plan to walk away from your job within a specified period of time while you ask the Lord in every moment that you can grab─to truly guide you? If you start your own business there are no guarantees but considering the alternative it might be a viable option for you.
But first you must sincerely repent and have a change of heart. Examine yourself and ask yourself if the money and worldly success are driving you. If you died tomorrow what could you show the Lord, what have you done for Him with all the gifts that He has blessed you with? Will he show you wood, hay and stubble when you face him at the Bema seat? Or will you have given your time and talents to the Lord’s work?
It might sound like I am being a little rough on you but I am very concerned for you. Trudy, all that really matters in this life is what we do for the Lord. But the world feeds us the lie that we have to go out and spread our wings for self-fulfillment. It is so easy to go astray and get caught-up in striving but never arriving. We are bombarded with one seductive emotional, psychological and material “goodie” after another.
It is great that you want to go back to church but I am more concerned that you immediately find a way to have regular quiet time to spend with the Lord so you can be at peace and actually hear the direction that He wants you to take. Many people make the mistake of putting God into a box. He is over there, while we are over here doing our own thing. For some there is church time and then there is “my” time. That is a mistake. Our entire lives should be God’s time.
If we are truly born-again and saved, the Holy Spirit dwells within us. It is when we meld together with the Lord by having a real, consistent, personal relationship with Him that we can best be led by the Holy Spirit. When we can reach that point of closeness with the Lord, daily decisions flow with an intrinsic awareness, which only He can give us. Our lifestyle choices will reflect our devotion to Him, with an awareness of serving Him in all we do.
Ask your closest friends and family to meet with you once a week or at least every other week in a relaxed setting to pray together, study the Bible together and make it a real time of fellowship focused on the Lord Jesus. Fill your heart and mind with the Lord. You must make the time, somehow. From my personal observation I have seen people grow in the Lord in much more effective ways when they are part of a small group, a home “church” rather than sitting once a week in the midst of acquaintances in a church building. Take your Bible with you when you leave the house and find some moments to read from it. I never go anywhere without my Bible. You never know when you might have a few spare minutes to read and study.
I used to go to a very popular church in my neighborhood. I met a lot of nice women there. But I was shocked to notice that none of them had their Bibles marked up from personal study. In fact the pages all looked brand new, barely touched. They went to church several times a week and were involved in various church ministries, but did not really know the Word of God in an intimate way except a little bit from the sermons they sat and listened to. They always relied upon others to feed them rather than taking self-responsibility as the Lord asks us to:
“These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11, emphasis added).
“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).
So rather than worry about going to church, find ways from the moments that you do have to communicate with the Lord through prayer, and really get serious about having an ongoing personal relationship with Him. Being a Christian is not about church, it is about having an authentic born-again personal relationship with the Lord. You could even listen to the audio Bible on your way to and from work. Consistent, personal Bible study is mandatory if we want to grow in the Lord. When you do this, little by little you will begin to have a clearer sense of direction and sense of God’s true purpose for your life. You have spent most of your life putting your career first. Please spend the rest of your life putting the Lord first in an authentic way.
There are plenty of carnal Christians. I think you want to be a genuine Christian. It sounds like you are ready to get serious. Believe me, when the reality of eternity sinks in, when you are face to face with our Savior, the One who died for you, you will not be thinking about your job, you will be wishing you had done everything possible that is pleasing to Him. It is not too late, but don’t wait another day to make amends with the Lord and ask Him to renew your life in a way that is centered around, Him and His will for your life.
Please keep in touch with me, and please don’t make any hasty decisions. Think of this time as a time to renew your faith and walk in faith, which I hope it will be. The Lord will guide you and give you the answers you need but you must make a change in your approach to Him. Research the pragmatic possibilities of starting your own business but the Lord must come first in the entire scope of your life. You sound very competent to take on a new challenge and considering your situation at your current job, having your own business might be the best option for you, but that is only something you can decide once you are more grounded in the Lord.
When we make serious, positive changes in our lives, we usually have to go through some hurdles, but when it is all said and done, a greater peace will take over. Don’t look back and don’t beat yourself up over past decisions. Instead, walk forward now with Jesus at the helm. Tomorrow is promised to no one. It is today that we have to make count for the Lord. Trust Him completely and give your all to Him.
“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified” (Romans 8: 28-30).
In God’s love with all sincerity,
“Set your mind on things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:2).
Mar 25, 2013
First, I would like to thank you for taking the time to run your advice column on Rapture Ready! Your answers are always so edifying and full of wisdom. I’m an eighteen-year old guy heading off to university this fall, and I’m excited to finally be able to strike out on my own. I’d also like to be married some day, but it will definitely be a few years before I’m ready. With the Rapture looking more imminent than ever, I was struck by the fact that I probably won’t ever meet that special someone. Older male mentors say that if I want to experience marriage I’ll have to make it happen here, because it just won’t happen in heaven. Of course that’s backed with Scripture but I just can’t shake the feeling of disappointment.
They bring up the fact that believers that are anticipating Christ’s return will receive a crown, but it seems like if I do that I pretty much have to give up on my dream. Its easy for the older guys to dismiss me, and my concerns, they’ve already lived their lives and done all there is to do. I definitely don’t want to put anything in this world over being with Christ, but it’s just so hard to let go. How can I look forward to the Rapture AND getting, married? Do I have to choose? Thank you very much for taking the time to read my question, and God bless you.
I am glad you wrote. Thank you for your kind words. I am blessed to know that a fine young man like you is reading my column. With all due respect to those older gentleman who are mentoring you, I agree that perhaps they are coming from a place that is well intentioned but somewhat limited in perspective. You don’t have to make your dream happen. If you are truly walking with the Lord, He will make it happen. I have good news for you, Peter. If God has a wife in mind for you, you will get married before the Rapture. As long as you are taking steps to be productive, the Lord will open the doors that He intends for your life. He knows what is best for us.
“Delight yourself also in the LORD, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass” (Psalm 37:4-5)
We don’t know when the Rapture will happen. Although many signs show that the time of the Rapture is drawing near. I can remember people saying 15-20 years ago that the Rapture was about to happen. I have an older friend who told me about how he bought into everything in Hal Lindsey’s book,
The Late Great Planet Earth -- thinking that the Rapture would happen in 1981, long before you were born, Peter.
I have not read the book but from what I understand, although Lindsey did not actually claim to know the dates of future events with any certainty, he suggested that Matthew 24:32-34 indicated that Jesus’ return might be within “one generation” of the rebirth of the state of Israel, and Lindsey interpreted that in the Bible one generation is forty years (all of which is pure speculation). Some trusting readers took this as a sign that the Tribulation or the Rapture would occur no later than 1988. Then in his 1980 work, The 1980s: Countdown to Armageddon, Lindsey predicted that “the decade of the 1980s could very well be the last decade of history as we know it” (more speculation that has proven to be false). And we are all still here
My friend believed what Lindsey suggested in his first book, and according to him, many of his friends did as well. They avoided getting married and made decisions about their lives based on the author’s projections, and now decades later they regret having made decisions based on the failed summations of the popular author. So with that said, although the Rapture is definitely drawing near, perhaps very near, we cannot be sure when it will happen and the best thing to do is help bring others to salvation in Christ while there is still time and continue to live responsible lives preparing for the future─as you are, by pursuing an education.
Live your life to the fullest but be absolutely sure it is Christ-centered. Believe me, when God brings the right girl into your life the relationship will be blessed. Rushing into a situation to beat the Rapture countdown clock would be a terrible mistake and it sounds like you are well aware of that. When the Lord brings two people together everything will flow -- as long as He is the center of the relationship. You will meet a lot of pretty girls in college but not all of them will be committed to Christ – only a girl who is truly born-again in Christ should be a possible future wife otherwise you will have a very tough time. I receive so many letters from those who did not pay attention to 2 Corinthians 6:14 where the Lord instructs us not to be unequally yoked – and their marital problems are overwhelming and devastating.
It is wonderful that you want to be married and are working toward that end. Concentrate on your schoolwork and avoid hanging out with the liberals in college who are determined to radically change the thinking of good Christian students. Many once-dedicated Christians have fallen away from the faith in college because of the constant in-your-face liberal godless indoctrination. College campuses are some of Satan’s greatest recruiting grounds for waywardness leading to an eternity of misery and hellfire. Armor yourself with God’s Word each day and seek out those who are truly committed to Christ.
Your future wife should be a good friend, first. You never know whom you might meet in college. A much older dear friend of mine, a brilliant scholar, met his wife at age seventeen in college while in the registration line at Bob Jones University. By age eighteen he was already pastoring a small church, married at age twenty, and working hard. He also continued to pursue multiple doctorate degrees for over a decade. He and his wife were together in their early years and are still happily married serving the Lord together in mighty ways in their twilight years.
The best thing you can do is to trust the Lord completely for your future. It is fun to daydream about a hopeful special loved-one, that’s fine. But when you keep your eyes focused on Jesus – everything that He has planned for your future will fall into place. Maybe sooner than you think. Be industrious in finding ways to make money and learning new things in college that will make you self-sufficient economically and enable you to take on the responsibility of a wife and family. But always do it in a godly manner, never mind what the flavor of the month is with your peers who may not be walking closely with the Lord.
And if the Rapture does take place and you are unmarried, rest assured, at that point it will not matter to you. Nothing, not even a perfect earthy marriage can compare to the glory of the living Christ. Our finite minds cannot comprehend the way we will be when we receive our new glorified bodies. Everything that seems so important to us now will not have the same pull on us, emotionally.
Be of good cheer. Enjoy your life, continue to grow in the Lord and make serving the Him your priority. Don’t worry about the Rapture. It is in God’s control. He created you for such a time as this. Everything will fall into place. Our heavenly Father delights in making His children happy. You sound like a very fine young man with a great future. It is nice to have older friends as mentors but the best mentor is Jesus Himself. Continue to grow close to Him and He will guide you in all you do. It is not uncommon for Bible students to eventually outgrow their mentors. A time will come when you will seek the mentorship of men less, and God more.
The Christian church is in great need of strong, godly, balanced biblical leadership; teachers who have great discernment and are not preaching their personal philosophies, but rather properly interpreted Scriptures using correct hermeneutical principles. You sound like a young man who could lead others and do great things for the Lord. You can look forward to getting married and the Rapture. You really don’t have to choose.
We should always place Christ first in our hearts. That is where we have to choose, between the world and Christ. You can still long to be married and long for the Rapture. Whichever comes first will be God’s perfect plan. When you can look at it from that perspective you should have a lot more peace and joy about your situation. You have much to look forward to.
God bless you!
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6).
Mar 18, 2013
I have suffered from depression since middle school. I am not sure how it started; I think it may have started with my unusually restricted childhood. Without going into much detail, my childhood wasn’t really much of a social childhood due to numerous restraints placed on me by my father. It was mostly spent in isolation (except when I was in school), dreaming of the day I would move out on my own. (Currently I am 26 and this still hasn't happened, which I hear is now a normal thing for this economy.) While, life is a little better now, I still have very few friends (next to none). Most friends have come and gone, and I don't have much family support in terms of relationships. I feel excruciatingly alone.
I currently work the same job that I have had since graduating high school, which is in food service. While I am blessed to even have a job, particularly one with excellent benefits, this is not what I envisioned. Due to financial restraints and other difficulties, college has taken me awhile. I am finally in my last semester at college, but in these uncertain times, there is no guarantee a degree will get you anywhere. I am also completing an internship, which I had been originally excited about. But the training and education have both been disappointing to date. I’m not trying to downplay God's blessings; I am very blessed to have gotten my foot in the door, as it is very hard to get into this organization.
I lost the friendship that was the most important to me at work recently. We have worked together for several years, and have always been close. We always used to look out for each other. Neither of us has been perfect, but starting right before Christmas, it is as if she stopped talking to me and caring about me completely overnight. I have approached her in concern several times about this, but she says that, “Everything is fine.” Clearly she has something against me, and this situation has dragged on for months. All of my attempts to be kind and loving have simply been bouncing off of her with no response. I never knew she could be so cold, and so cruel as to treat anyone in such a way. I really don't even want to work with her anymore. While I know that bigger things are happening in the universe, I am so angry and hurt over this. I had prayed about this situation, which, like everything else in my life, just doesn't seem to be getting any better.
I simply want to die. I am so tired of life, and the impermanence of everything that is good. As long as relationships fail and time devours all things, nothing in this world is going to satisfy me. I feel doomed to repeat the same struggles day after day. The past few days, I have been almost paralyzed with depression. I have tried to draw near to Christ, but for some reason it doesn't seem to be dispelling the gloom. The despair is crushing. I have often dreamed of ending my life several times (usually this vision ends with me landing in front of a very disappointed and frustrated Christ...or in hell). I always hear about how Christians should be filled with joy...we are actually commanded to rejoice in all things. Is it possible for a Christian who is filled with the Holy Spirit to be filled with such agonizing disappointment and ungodly (suicidal) despair?
C (Christians and ungodly despair)
Dear C (Christians and ungodly despair),
Sometimes life just becomes so overwhelmingly disappointing it is possible to block out the Lord even when we are trying to reach out to Him. Your feelings are very understandable. It is always a shock to think we know someone but then when another side to that person emerges it is really scary. Dear friend, please understand this is not the world God intended for us. It is so corrupt. The best thing we can do is channel all our anger, hurt and disappointments into something positive to benefit others which will also benefit ourselves. It is very possible to be filled with the Holy Spirit and at times feel such despair, that we wonder what is going on and feel like we simply want to die. We are redeemed but we are still human and sometimes when the viciousness of this world closes in heavily on us we yearn to be free of it all.
The best remedy for depression and a feeling of immobility is doing good to help others. I know that might be very hard to hear right now, but it does work. So many people are hurting today and of course you would so much like someone to step in and make things right for you. But when we do not have loving and thoughtful individuals to reach out to, we should try reaching out to help others. By taking the focus off ourselves we can better cope with our own situations. By nature our tendency is to think about how we are hurt and offended and there is no disputing that you have been treated very rudely and badly and the fact that it carries over into your work environment makes it even more painful. But placing one foot in front of the other and helping to bring a smile to another hurting heart and soul is one of the best remedies for your own hurt.
You are in your last semester of college. That is a great achievement. Something to be very proud of; good job! Soon you will be finished and you will have your degree. One thing to also keep in mind is since you know where you are not going to get support it is futile to expect to get it from those people. I have seen a number of situations where it seemed that the Lord allowed most everything that seemed important to a person to just kind of dissolve. Devastating at first glance. But this is often a way that the Lord is asking us to be more committed to Him, to take our faith to a deeper level, and also possibly His way of protecting us from something down the road that we cannot see. Then, with time, His next plan for our lives is revealed─which is always for the better.
How well do you know your Bible? The Word of God is like healing medicine to the soul. The more you get into it, the more you can look at the world rather than be in the world. I think God has very special plans for you, yet. Have you considered seriously looking for a new job right after you finish college? Regardless of the economy, if the Lord has something else in mind for you, that door will open. We serve a great and mighty God and when He wants us to do something He will open the right doors.
Is there a good Bible teaching church in your area that you could get involved in? Please look into finding a place where you can go to regularly. I also recommend trying to find a small group of believers who meet in each other’s homes. You might have to try a few different places and situations. What you need is a sense of belonging with others who are like-minded and are deeply committed to the Lord. Not carnal Christians. Also, please read through some of my other letters on RR and they might give you some encouragement.
And remember this: We are living very close to the Lord’s return. Have you shared the gospel with others? I am assuming you are a born-again believer. Please get involved in something that will take you away from your feelings of isolation. The first step might be tough, but I am sure God has some wonderful new, true, friends for you.
BTW - If your “friend” continues to play the game she is playing, be cordial when you must interact with her at work but at this point I would not walk around giving her the satisfaction that she has so much power over you that she can ruin your day. In your heart you will have to let go of her and forgive her. If she comes to you and gets straight with you, well then there might be a chance for a renewed friendship. But from what you have said, I would not count on it. People will always let us down. But God is right there waiting for us. He loves you so very much and He will guide you. Don’t give up now. God does have a plan for your life. Ask Him to take you in the direction He wants you to move toward. Whatever and wherever it is, it will be for the best.
Also, realize because we are living in the last days many believers will be attacked by other self-serving (false) Christians and the world in general. Just this week at Rapture Ready we have had to deal with some very vicious and rude emails sent by professing Christians trying to undermine our good work. Some even use fake identities. But the real identities of these thick as thieves rebel rousers is very suspect. When a person pontificates in a self-righteous soapbox writing style (packed with lies) his or her true identity can be easily uncovered. Some people are pathetic busybodies and can’t stand to have others in positions that they covet for themselves (Exodus 20:17). Such imposters underestimate the savvy and discernment of true born-again believers.
The hypocrisy of these types of people comes through loud and clear. All they accomplish is to show them selves for the fools that they are, and the key word is “selves.” These types of people are totally into themselves. They manage to delude themselves and some others into thinking they are such wonderful, dedicated believers but behind the scenes they are playing games, gossiping and stabbing other genuine Christians in the back. Just like your friend who abandoned you, to some extent. But God is not mocked and these wretched troublemakers will reap what they sow. But we must pray for them, for their deliverance.
The devil uses weak-willed people to do his dirty work to try to destroy others. We can find them in our churches, Christian social groups, ministries─just about anywhere. The best thing to do is let go of such people and let God to deal with them. Don’t get caught up in their drama. Also the closer we get to the Lord’s return, this type of behavior will escalate, so be sure you are armed with the Word of God and when the enemy strikes, walk away and quote Scripture aloud: “Greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world!” Every day we must make our relationship with the Lord our first and highest priority and turn away of the distractions that keep us from having a strong relationship with Him. We must pray for wisdom and discernment so we can better detect those who have hidden agendas and cannot be trusted.
Please get back to me dear friend and let me know that you are all right. Jesus is right there for you. Don’t let the devil fool you into thinking you are all alone. The Lord loves you so very, very much. I hope to meet you one day soon in person when “the Lord Himself descends from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God” and takes us home to glory.
In God’s love,
“We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed─” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9).
Mar 11, 2013
In 2008 I became extremely ill - up to the point of near death by 2011. I had lost a job that was not good for me, and my illness compounded the difficulties. So 2008 was a challenging year for my husband and me. I could feel his anger toward me - it seemed to ooze out of his pores and I felt bombarded by his angry feelings. I knew he was upset because I couldn’t work and he wanted to have the perks and pleasures that go with a two-income family that are both educated and well employed. By 2010, his anger began to turn to something else - resentment. So I took a job that I knew would not be good for me, but he wanted me to be bringing in money. The stress was unbearable, both at work and at home and I continued to get sicker and sicker; 2011 came, and I was so ill I couldn't lift my head from the pillow. I couldn't eat. His resentment turned to a bitter coldness that I could not understand.
Finally I had surgery in September 2011 and began to recover. Things began to improve, so I thought. On January 1, 2012 he told me that he was leaving me, moving out - but he assured me that there wasn’t anyone else. I found out differently. He had been having an affair with a person since 2010. So my husband, best friend, my─everything in this world walked out on our thirty-year marriage. I then tracked down his email account and I downloaded everything. There were emails that showed how he lost his ethics and his integrity - which he had worked so hard to achieve. He just threw it away. He disposed of me, our children, our grandchildren, friends - everyone - all for a married woman. In their emails they would send Scripture back and forth to show how God was “blessing” their affair. She had convinced him, by using Scripture that what they were doing was okay. I am so confused by all of this!
When we were together, we were heavily involved in our church until I became too ill to attend. This woman has many of my characteristics - red hair and green eyes, other things as well. He took her to all of the places that were special to us as a couple. He dedicated “our song” to her. He even began calling her by the nickname he had given me all those years ago. Before the divorce was final, he was proudly parading her around our town, and I felt so humiliated!
How can they believe, truly believe that what they are doing is justified in God’s eyes? He pushed through a divorce in less than a year, but she is still married. I miss him so much, and I still love him, even through this whole hurtful process. I have asked God to remove the love from my heart, but when I listen for that small, soft voice I keep hearing “Don't give up yet. God can heal anything. He can do the impossible. Trust in Him, this isn’t over yet.”
How can I move on? I am worried for his salvation and if in fact he was ever truly saved. The woman has all the markings of an apostate. She has lured him so far out of the light, so far into the darkness that he can’t see how deep his sin is. I have tried to move on. I have tried to date, but so far everyone has fallen through at the last minute, not on my part but on the part of the gentleman I was to see. It feels like God's hand is staying me in this place, but why? Can you give me some sort of insight that I may be overlooking?
No Longer his Wife
Dear No Longer his Wife,
I am very sorry to hear you have had such a painful, turbulent ride over the past many years. After reading your letter a number of times, I would ask you to think through very carefully if you really want to get into another relationship right now. Rather than dating it might be best to cultivate true friendships with other believers and perhaps think seriously about how you can best serve the Lord in these last days. That is how you can move on. One thing I am sure of, if you are meant to be with someone again (the right man) God will make a way for that to happen. Be sure you aren’t looking. The Lord knows just what you need. Keep reaching out to Him in prayer.
When a person is not married, that is often a perfect time to give more attention to the Lord. Please think about this. The world always wants us to believe we have to have a “mate” to be happy but if you look around, those who can serve the Lord without the responsibilities of romantic relationship sometimes have a distinct advantage over those who are tied down to a household and husband, etc. And the Lord is your true husband and He is right there for you. You are now in a situation where you can give your full-attention to the Lord’s work.
“For your Maker is your husband, the LORD of hosts is His name; and your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel; He is called the God of the whole earth” (Isaiah 54:4).
I appreciate you letting me know that what others have said resonates with what I said to you in an email -- that you should look to Christ as your husband. He will never let you down. From the things you cited about your former spouse he does not deserve to have you. His humiliating despicable ungodly behavior is beyond pathetic. Shame on him: for being so absurdly foolish, wicked and completely self-centered. What he is involved in is pure treachery. No way does the Lord condone such an illicit affair He absolutely forbids it. If these two really believe that the Lord is blessing their relationship they cannot possibly know the true God of the Bible. They are surely manufacturing their own doctrine by taking Scripture out of context to suit their rebellious agendas. It sounds like your ex-husband has gone far off the deep-end emotionally and spiritually. Mark my words, when his obsession with this woman blows up─and it will─he will have a very difficult time dealing with the reality of his self-aggrandizing ruthless behavior.
When you were very ill he should have been doing anything and everything possible to help you. His attitude and behavior expose his true character. If he wanted more money coming into the household he should have found a way to make more and lovingly insist that you stay home which would have been much better for you overall. Instead he was cheating on you and pushing you out the door to make money. Sometimes when we think we have feelings for someone it is not so much that person, but what could have been and the memories from the good times that are sometimes hard to let go off. What this man has done to your entire family is loaded with so many problems and heartaches yet he seems to be carrying on as if the only thing in the world that matters is what he wants. How sad for your children and grandchildren.
I suggest standing back and taking another detailed look at this man’s underhanded behavior and you will see that your best interests and well-being were not at all in his mind (or heart). Considering he has been “heavily involved” with church he should understand that the husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the church, and that means he should sacrifice his comfort for yours─especially with your history of serious illness.
Your concern for his salvation is admirable and saying that you still love him is very understandable, even with all the miserable things he has done. It shows what a dear person you are. But unless the Lord takes this man by the back end and gives him some super strong chastising kicks and he straightens out and truly repents – the best thing in the world for you is to think of him as a lost family member buried somewhere far away in a distant land.
The old saying, “Time can heal things” is very true. And with God this healing can come in a way that will strengthen you to the point of being able to minister to others who are in similar situations. Stand fast in your faith and know that the Lord already has a marvelous plan for your life. I wouldn’t be surprised if that gutter rat came back to you one day with his tail between his legs begging for forgiveness. Do forgive him. Make up a bed for him on the couch if he is distraught and unstable. Feed him some hot soup. Let him rest for the night. And the next morning bid him farewell—because by that time, unless the Lord miraculously heals the entire relationship─you will not want him around. And in no way are you biblically obligated to take him back. Forgive him a thousand times. But let him take his baggage elsewhere. Enough is enough. Using Scripture to try to condone a cheap affair and treat you like a used dishrag even when you were so very ill is about as bad as it gets.
You are beautiful in the Lord’s eyes and His love for you is overflowing and endless. It is going to be all right, dear friend. It is going to be all right. Please keep in touch with me. We are here for you. Stay close to Jesus and he will carry your through this major time of transition in your life.
In God’s love,
“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand’”(Isaiah 41:10).
Mar 4, 2013
I’m writing about myself. I’m so confused right now. I know what is wrong and right but somehow I just continue doing wrong even after knowing it is not right. I really need guidance on my life and everything that I am. I have financial problems and I am not happy at my work anymore, plus everything seems that it doesn’t want to change in my life. I am a believer.
Your attached information in your letter puts your physical location in Namibia. It is wonderful that you have reached out to us here at Rapture Ready. From your brief comments, my overall assessment of your situation is that you seem to lack incentive to change and improve your situation. God is not the author of confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33) so the best remedy for that is to get very close to Him.
In your email you indicate that you are involved with a prestigious company in the Real Estate business in Windhoek, the capital. As far as changing things for the better, we can do so with the Lord’s guidance. When we are feeling great despair we can feel very immobilized. But that is exactly what the enemy wants. He wants to take us off the playing field so we cannot do the work of the Lord. As a believer, you must armor your self with the Word of God each and every day. When we really get into the Scriptures deeply, we are strengthened and a whole new world of hope and opportunity is revealed.
Have you searched your heart and reassessed your relationship with the Savior? Have you totally surrendered your life to Him? I have often heard some people say that they are afraid to let go of the control in their lives and give it over to the Lord because they think the Lord will want them to do something they don’t want to do. So they stay stuck spinning their wheels, choosing frustrating familiarity over a new direction.
Of course financial problems can slow down anyone trying to move forward and make positive changes, but with the Lord all things are possible. He can open doors and solve problems in ways no one else can. I can attest to that personally, many times over. I don’t know how close a relationship you have with the Lord, but very often when nothing seems to be moving forward in our lives, He is calling for us to seek Him in a very intense way and totally die to self.
You know right from wrong, but you continue to stumble. How human of you! Men are under tremendous pressure to “achieve” and with all the game playing that goes on in the world it is easy to feel downright despondent at times. The apostle Paul through His invincible faith persevered through horrific trials and adversity, yet he wrote some of the most poignant books of the Bible, some even from prison as the Holy Spirit ministered to him. He too, struggled with sin, which grieved him very much.
“For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do” (Romans 7:15).
Paul further came to the realization that only what we do for the Lord is what really matters in this life:
“But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead” (Philippians 3:7-11).
The world teaches that we have to place success first before anything else. The Lord teaches that we should put Him first and trust Him completely─for everything. We are children of God and He will look after us but first we must be willing to let go of old self-destructive patterns and be sure we have a strong relationship with Him in order to move forward and receive His best for us. Surrender to Him and you will better sense His guidance. He has a solution for your problems. Ask Him to close the wrong doors and open the right doors for your life.
A time is soon coming upon this world when the day-to-day lives of the unsaved will be tremendously disrupted, when all true believers will be removed in the Rapture and the Tribulation will begin. We must keep this in mind and keep our time here on this earth in its proper perspective.
Please think through all your options carefully. Sometimes we might think we don’t have any good options but with careful prayer and analysis there is usually at least one door we can knock on and then walk through to move toward God’s destiny for us.
When all possibilities seem impossible that is a sure indication that something much better is on the horizon. Don’t give in to the devil’s attempt to crush you.
“Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14).
I strongly recommend that you carefully study the apostle Paul’s thirteen Epistles (letters): Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon.
I suggest that you begin with Philippians, which Paul wrote while chained in prison. He encourages the first church founded in Europe on how to have the joy of Christ. We live at a time where nearly everyone has a phone in their hand when they walk out the door. Be sure to have your Bible in your other hand. Stay close to God’s Word as much as possible.
Please keep in touch with us and be encouraged that with Christ all things are possible. Seek the Lord with all your heart and He will not let you down.
In God’s love,
Esther (2 Corinthians 7:1-10)
“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” Romans 12:2).
Feb 25, 2013
I love reading “Dear Esther.” Many of the things you have said to others have been very helpful to me. Thank you. I have been having a problem with a person I thought was my friend. I have been going to my church for about six months after moving to this town last year with my family. In our women’s Bible class a woman started to talk to me telling me about how sad her life has been and how she has so many problems. It almost seemed like she was trying to get me to feel sorry for her.
We began to exchange phone calls and spend some time together. She seemed to be very eager to make a new friend. Even a short time after I met her, I somehow did not feel I could really trust her. She was always bragging about all her accomplishments and seemed very competitive and even used crass foul language, sometimes telling off-color jokes that were in poor taste, not something a godly woman should do. I didn’t like it. I like to spend my free time learning more about the Bible and she has even told me I should let “my hair down” and do other things more often.
Over the past two months or so I have tried to distance myself from her after nicely asking her not to use foul language, which she continued to do. My sister who also attends church with me has heard this person talk against me to others. So I nicely confronted her and she tried to deny everything, but my sister backed me up. I told her I was very hurt.
A couple of weeks later I realized it would be best to try to be forgiving like the Lord teaches and my sister and I tried to talk to her after church. She was so rude and indignant. I even told her that I forgive her, but she acts so bothered like she was betrayed when in fact the opposite is true. I also told her if I hurt her in any way that I am sorry but she continues to act so incensed and offended. This is causing a problem not only for me and for my sister, but she is putting some mutual friends in a very awkward uncomfortable position. I don’t know what to do. Can you advise me?
I am very sorry to hear about your saga. When we give our friendship to someone even when we are not entirely comfortable with doing so, yet give a person the benefit of the doubt (trying to be a good Christian) and that individual turns out to be a troublemaker and insincere, then we have good reason to be hurt and disappointed. As painful as it is to be undermined by someone who has hidden motives it is truly a blessing to be free of such a “friendship.”
It sounds like this so-called friend is a carnal Christian at best if she cannot admit her own wrong doing, continues to behave in an unladylike manner and rejects your efforts to solve the problem. You did the right thing. Even though you did not do anything wrong, you even apologized showing a lot of class and spiritual maturity.
“For if you forgive others for their transgressions your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions” (Matthew 6:14).
This individual sounds very selfish by placing others in uncomfortable positions. One is left to wonder if she really has a true relationship with the Lord or if she is just some kind of quasi-Christian groupie who attends church for social reasons.
“These are the ones who cause divisions, worldly-minded, devoid of the Spirit” (Jude 1:19).
Unless a person is truly born-again and has surrendered control to the Holy Spirit there is spiritual stagnation. We live at a time when there seem to be a number of professing Christians but too many of them show little or no sign of genuine repentance. When we are truly born-again we take our faith seriously and do not go out of our way to grieve the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:30). You might hear a lot of superficial talk about the Lord but it is a person’s behavior and attitude that reveal who they truly are:
“Therefore by their fruits you will know them” (Matthew 7:20).
Sadly, many people act the same way they did before they professed Christ as Savior. There is no spiritual transformation or regeneration. I think Romans 12:2, should be taught at every church every week so the message might sink in:
“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
My advice would be to walk tall and continue to be pleasant when you do come in contact with this woman. If she huffs and puffs and acts indignant people will be looking at her wondering why she is acting like a heathen instead of a kind Christian. The best thing you can do is carry on with your life and let God deal with the woman.
It is wonderful that you study your Bible faithfully and never let anyone tell you otherwise. As Christians we should all be seriously studying our Bibles every day. Pray for her and be sure you hold no resentment in your heart toward her. God knows the total truth and I have a feeling others at your church will quickly figure out she is out-of-line. And next time when someone goes out of his or her way to befriend you and you feel an uneasy sense of caution, smile, but walk away. Walk away fast and don’t look back.
God bless you!
“And whoever will not receive you nor hear your words, when you depart from that house or city, shake the dust off from your feet” (Matthew 10:14).
Feb 18, 2013
I am writing about an issue I believe is hampering my husband’s ability to come to salvation in Christ. Mike (not his real name) used to smoke marijuana but quit when we had to move to another state for a job that does random testing. Well, he found a substitute in a manufactured substance. It’s illegal but he can still buy it at certain smoke shops.
Esther, it’s changed him. His memory is bad! He says I’m the one who has lost my mind!! When we talk the only way it won’t end up in an argument is if I agree with everything he says. I asked him to quit smoking and he said he would after that bag was gone, but he didn’t. I asked him again and he flat out said he didn’t want to. I’ve been praying for him Esther, but my patience is wearing thin. Please pray for me, I need help too.
God Bless you and this website,
A sister in Christ Jesus
My dear sister in Christ Jesus,
You can surely count on my prayers. I am so sorry you are going through such a trial and ordeal. When substance abuse is involved so many factors come into play. I am sure you are feeling like no matter what you do or say, it is a useless endeavor. Exhaustion and frustration are reaching a point where you are wondering if your life will ever have any semblance of normalcy. Your emotions and nerves are worn to the max.
I remember hearing the testimony of a well-known pastor. He described what he was like before got saved. His life had been totally out-of-control with severe drug abuse, physical violence and vicious verbal abuse along with a number of other crude manifestations of degenerate behavior stemming from a godless lifestyle. His family was in a constant state of distress and living in fear every day. Their lives were frequently threatened. The situation seemed extremely hopeless but God intervened and the man was totally delivered from his evil ways.
If I had heard about this person before he was saved I would have said to myself, “That guy will never change.” Our limited minds might assess a situation in a logical way but our great and mighty God knows the end from the beginning and is able to turn an impossible situation into something so great and extraordinary that everyone can see that only God could have underwritten such a remarkable change.
I pray the same will be for you. As a woman of faith, continue to use all your godly principles and petition the Lord to intervene on your husband’s behalf in a miraculous way. I do not suggest going to any secular treatment centers or counselors, but I urge you to seek out Christian counseling where those in charge are strongly equipped with God’s Word and are very experienced with such situations. Some treatment programs for substance abuse do exist that are run by genuine Christians.
If you are involved with a good church I would start by speaking with your pastor and hopefully he may know of some people who can assist you in reaching through to your husband, and also give you the love and support you need so very much. Stay in your prayer closet and never underestimate God’s ability to turn even the worst situation into something incredibly good. I also know of someone personally who was addicted to marijuana for decades and when he was in his early fifties the Lord saved him and he was instantly healed from smoking pot, never to touch the stuff again. He is now about 84 years old and has been serving the Lord full-time through a television ministry.
Whatever happens, remind yourself that you cannot control what other people do or say. Remember that you are already victorious in Christ because you are saved. You are in a very tough situation. By the outside world you are seen as a married “couple” but behind closed doors it is so lonely and like living with a self-absorbed stranger much of the time. But don’t let your spouse or others rob you of the joy available to you through Christ. Even when we are surrounded by chaos and a world of self-centered opportunists we can have the joy of Christ in our hearts.
I strongly suggest reading the apostle Paul’s Epistles (the Pauline Epistles) especially Philippians. It is hard to fathom that Paul is writing from prison with chain’s strapped to him. He expresses such an attitude of joy even from prison. The words joy and rejoice are used in Philippians about sixteen times.
God understands your every heartache, your every tear. He loves you so very, very much. You are not alone. He is right there with you. He promised never to leave you or forsake you. Hold onto to Him and know that He is going to get your through this. I pray that one day you will have an incredible testimony to share with others.
“We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed— always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body” (2 Corinthians 4:8-10).
In God’s love,
“But let all those rejoice who put their trust in You; let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them; let those also who love Your name be joyful in You. For You, O LORD, will bless the righteous; with favor You will surround him as with a shield” (Psalm 5:11-12).
Feb 11, 2013
First of all I want to thank you for responding to my question before on the blood moons. I love to read RR and check it everyday, to see the new articles and updates. I learn so much from all of you. Thank you. I was wondering if you could answer if your pets get raptured when we do? I have read so many responses to this question and would like to know your opinion. I would like to think my animals will be there with us, they are part of our family but I also know that my loved ones are the ones that I need to worry about. What do you think and if not what do you think will happen to them? Will God provide someone to care for them? Just wondering. Thanks for the time to address this question.
Waiting for the Lords return!
Everything on Rapture Ready is a joint effort and we value everyone’s contributions, including yours. None of the Rapture passages name or suggest that pets or animals are going up in the Rapture. In Genesis there are some basic principles that tell us that both mankind and animals have the “breath of life” and are living entities. We really have no way of knowing if animals continue to exist after death. Man was made in the image of God and we know pets were not -- so where that leaves them after they die is unknown to us.
I cannot find anywhere in the Scriptures a specific reference to animals having souls or if they will be in heaven, but if they do have a soul it is of a quality quite different from humans and what happens to that kind of soul is a mystery. But our God (Abba-daddy) delights in pleasing His children and He surely knows how much our pets mean to us.
Whatever happens, rest assured that when you do get to heaven you will be completely accepting of whatever God’s plans are on this matter. Genesis 1:25 states that God created the animals and “saw that it was good.” We know there will be animals in the millennial kingdom (Isaiah 11:6-7; 65:25). But we have really no way of knowing if our pets will be taken up in the Rapture with us and I cannot speculate what might happen. My hope is that our beloved pets will be with us in heaven and throughout the Millennium and even into Eternity.
If our pets are here after the Rapture, I pray the Lord will protect them. I do know of some people who are making arrangements to have their pets cared for by non-Christian friends and family, as strange as that may sound. The unbelievers are probably placating the saved pet owners but something tells me if the pets are not taken, the unsaved family and friends will be running to get those pets to care for them once we are gone. Not only that, they will be panicking to realize all the warnings they have heard over the years about the Rapture have come to pass and that the Tribulation is fast on their heels; unless they have hardened their hearts so much that they fall for the lies that will circulate about how those “pathetic Christians” were taken out by aliens or buy into some other demonic lie that will be told to try to account for our departure.
God bless you, Sue!
“The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them” (Isaiah 11:6).
I’m looking for some possible insight to help me in my time of suffering. I just got out a three-year relationship, which includes a two-year old daughter. I put my all into that relationship which started when I was 16 and ended now at 20. It all ended just to find out I’ve been cheated on and hurt emotionally, mentally, and physically. I asked God to reveal to me what I needed to know about the guy and to let His will be done no matter what the outcome would be. So here we are now broken-up.
I’m not arguing with God’s will for me but I now suffer from loneliness and I do my best to stick with God through this time. I’m also celibate which makes me really emotional and lonely but I know it's best for me. Also with today’s world I strongly believe Jesus is on His way. I smoke even though I am a strong believer. Will He condemn me? Will I be left behind? I really need some insight on how to cope with all that is happening. Please get back to me.
You are very young. You have much ahead of you and life is only beginning in some ways, although you have had a very, very rough start. I am sure you feel like your entire world is crashing down all around you. But with God we always have hope. He loves you more than anyone else ever could and is there for you. It sounds like this is a time of major transition for you. And you should stay celibate if you are not married. That is God’s command.
“Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication [sex outside of marriage], uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them” (Colossians 3:5-7).
And smoking is so bad for your health -- and the health of your child. Why pollute your body with a substance that will only make you sick? Go to the Word of God for sustenance and comfort and draw from it the strength that you need to carry on and move forward. Cry out to the Lord and be sure that you have repented from your former lifestyle that has gotten you into this situation. Pray with all your heart for the Lord to take over this situation and heal your entire life. Trust Him completely.
It is time to start walking in a new direction and the Lord will guide you if you are really committed to Him and have made a sincere prayer of confession and repentance unto salvation. Be sure you are saved and not just going through the motions of being a carnal Christian. We must all take personal inventory sometimes. We are not saved by what we do but once we are saved how we live our lives matters and we must surrender our old ways to the Lord so we can truly be “a new creation” in Christ. If you truly repent and are saved you will not be condemned or left behind. That does not mean you won’t have sin in your life on occasion but you must take your faith seriously and let go of the ways of the world Allow the Holy Spirit to take over your life so your mind can be renewed.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
“I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law” (Galatians 5:16-18).
Moye, please know that a wonderful life is still ahead for you and the Lord can heal your wounds. You must be strong for the sake of your little girl. Please get involved with some true Christians. Do your best to find a good church where there is a youth group, where you can get support and counseling. God will bring new friends into your life. It might take trying a few churches to find the right people but don’t give up. Read your Bible regularly, especially Psalm 91. I know this is a very rough situation for you but if you are truly committed to the Lord -- He will be there for you to comfort, strengthen and guide you. Please keep in touch with me and let me know how you are doing.
“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:2).
In God’s love,
Feb 4, 2013
Do you think it is rude for someone to intrude on a person that is obliviously grief- stricken over the passing of a loved one? The intruder was an in-law who is not close to the mother or grandmother of a young 22 year-old man who died from the complications of leukemia. The mother of the young man seemed to hold up all right during the funeral service but at the very end before the casket was sealed when the family and close friends were going up to say goodbye, the young man’s grieving mother “lost it.”
The grandmother of the young man went up to console the mother and the in-law took it upon her self to go up and grab the shoulders of the grandmother and physically pulled her away from consoling her daughter and told her to, “Stop it.” The grandmother without saying a word pulled away from her and walked away so very upset. My question I guess is this: Is there a protocol for how someone grieves over the loss of a love one? I personally think the in-law should have kept her nose out of it. It was a time between a mother and her daughter.
I could not agree with you more. The cold-hearted, in-law had no business intruding upon the grieving grandmother and mother. Not only was she rude, she was completely out-of-order. There is no etched-in-stone protocol for grieving for a loved one, but one universal law that should be adhered to is to be respectful of those who are grieving and give them the space they need.
The mother had every reason to fall apart at that moment; her young son was gone and the harsh reality of that must have hit her very hard as the casket was about be closed. The grandmother did the right thing by consoling her. The nasty in-law should be ashamed of her self. Hopefully she will apologize, but I would not count on it. Nevertheless, as Christians we are called to be forgiving even when we have been hurt by the belligerent actions of others.
I do hope that the mom and the grandmother will get their strength from the Lord as they adjust to this very big change in their lives.
God bless you, Julie,
“Let all thing be done decently and in order” (1 Corinthians 14:40).
I don’t normally think about this but I think my parents are not believers in Jesus and lately my 92 year old father has become much more senile. He has become angry with my mother and is doing unusual things like eating with his hands and throwing his food on the floor. What I’m concerned about is that I hear he has begun making growling noises. Do you think this is a symptom of demonic possession? If so, what can we do about it? My family is saved but we live in another state. Thank you for your thoughts. I understand if you don’t feel you can answer this question. I know I would have trouble with it.
Your concern for you Dad is understandable. Growling can be a sign of demonic possession. I have heard that demonic growling can be identified through low, guttural growling sounds as though you are about to be attacked by a fierce dog. If you hear growling we cannot assume that you are dealing with something demonic. Growling has also been attributed to pent-up, unresolved anger of human spirits. Religious Demonologists have said that the way to tell the difference is that a demonic growl will change pitches.
Could you locate a pastor in their town that could come visit your parents? If he could spend some time with your Dad he might get some better insight and could help determine what needs to be done. Call around in his town and see which church might be able to help you. Some churches do have pastors who are very knowledgeable in matters of demonic activity. With old age many problems can manifest that are very strange, especially if the person is in poor health. Considering that your parents are not saved, I am sure you must be quite distraught about their eternal future.
This is the time to pray like never before that the Lord would have mercy on your parents and touch them with the Holy Spirit bringing them to salvation. Perhaps you should seriously consider visiting your parents so you can see first hand what is going on. I pray that your parent’s will both come to salvation in Christ before it is too late.
God bless you,
So Jesus answered and said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but also if you say to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ it will be done. And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive” (Matthew 21:21-22).
I am writing because I have a dilemma. I accepted Jesus as my Savior when I was 11 (I am now 44) and have been following Him ever since, was baptized as an adult. I am now a mom with three young children (10, 8, 4), and I am married to a Catholic man (he does not attend church anymore because he is “disgusted with the changes.” He attended so we could be married (he made a very big deal about being married there) and then again so our two older children could be “infant baptized.”
I have been bringing them to a Christ-centered and Bible believing church. I have invited him several times to church usually because of something to do with our children, Well, fast-forward to now -- my older children have been going to church and Sunday school with me: AWANA, where I teach and to Christian school all their lives. Both kids have accepted Christ as their Savior and have asked to be baptized. I keep praying for my husband.
Our church is offering a Believer’s Baptism next month and both kids have asked to be baptized and I believe that they are mature enough to make that decision. So my daughter asked her Dad if he would come to our church because she wanted to be baptized. He proceeded to yell and scream at all three of us: “You were already baptized as babies and you do not need it again, and your mother has disregarded my religion and beliefs,” and he wasn’t going to step foot in a Baptist church. Well he made both kids cry and he said a few other things and I got the kids off to bed, reassuring them they could be baptized if they want, and told them I would talk to him again about it.
I am not sure what I need, just a listening ear or advice. I have been reading your RR column since it started and I enjoy learning what others are going through and how you have helped them and in turn helping themselves. I know I have support from my family for my kids and of my husband's sister (she left the Catholic church after 50 years), she accepted Christ as her Savior and was baptized about a year ago. I do not think I am wrong for wanting my children to grow up with God and Jesus as then center of their lives, not Catholicism. I guess I am wondering if I am guiding my children in the right direction, please help if you can.
Your sister in Christ
The best thing you can do is to keep praying for your husband’s salvation and for peace in the home. It sounds like your children are getting good Christian teaching. But they are about to learn more about the growing pains of life considering that their father does not want to participate in the things that are important to them. It does not sound like your husband is going to get involved in anything to do with Christianity at this time. At least he has allowed them to attend a Christian church and school. That is a huge plus. You are not wrong in wanting to raise your children the way you are.
But now you are facing the consequences of marrying a non-Christian, which we are commanded not to do (2 Corinthians 6:14). Sadly, these types of marriages are so prevalent. The best suggestion I can give you is to try to explain to your children that your father is not doing this to hurt them, but that he himself is quite confused about what and who God really is. Also ask their Aunt who is the former Catholic to speak with them and try to give them support. Perhaps she can attend their important functions along with others in your family. As their mother it is important to show Christian love toward their father and not show a lot of anger and disappointment.
As far as the water baptism, it is not a requirement for salvation. Your girls may have to wait until they are older if their father is so strongly against it right now. There is no easy solution to your dilemma. Perhaps your husband’s redeemed sister could try to carefully speak to him to see if he might go along with allowing the girls to get baptized. If she cannot get through to him, I think you should drop the idea for now. A lot can change with time, especially with fervent prayer. Be grateful that they have been able to be raised as Christians thus far without much opposition.
We serve a mighty God who is surely looking out for your entire family. My prayer is that this situation will make your husband think more about why he himself does not attend a Catholic church. It sounds like he’s outnumbered in the household with a Bible believing family. May the Holy Spirit get to him soon and open up his spiritual eyes so he can realize the truth and come to Christ. It does happen, never give-up on the idea. Keep praying believing for your husband’s salvation and for peace in your home. I wish you all the very best.
In God’s love,
“Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven” (Matthew 18:19).
Jan 28, 2013
First, thank you for your column on Rapture Ready!! My main reason for writing is simple: to lend a word of encouragement. I read all the letters from my Christian sisters who are married to non-believers. I just want to get the word out that with continued prayer and intersession to our Father, husbands can and do change, their hearts are softened and they become the men of God that they were created to be. I know this as fact: it happened to my own husband!
Long story short, I’ve been a believer since I was old enough to understand Jesus died for me. My husband and I married, had a child, divorced and then remarried almost eight years later. All through this, he never entrusted his life to Christ, despite that I prayed for him daily and spoke with him often about his need for Jesus. That is, until a couple of years ago. One thing that helped him was attending a men’s conference. Today, my husband is a child of God and continually learning to be the spiritual leader of our household as he should be. We have now been remarried almost thirteen years, but really together for twenty-three. So yes, miracles do continue to occur!!
Just hoping that my story can encourage others that are currently in the situation I was once in myself.
Always in Him,
Thank you so very much for sharing your testimony. It is tremendously encouraging. I am posting it to give others hope where there seems to be little or no hope that their spouses will ever come to a saving faith in the Lord Jesus, treat their wives lovingly and selflessly (Ephesians 5:25) and realize that the Bible is the truth. But your husband is living proof that it does happen. Fervent prayer truly can change things. You are greatly blessed.
I welcome any “Answered Prayer” testimonials from any of our readers on any and all issues.
In God’s love,
“I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined to me, and heard my cry. He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my steps. He has put a new song in my mouth—Praise to our God; many will see it and fear, and will trust in the LORD” (Psalm 40:1-3).
Our next letter is a follow-up to Gina who wrote a few weeks ago, when she was torn about making a tough decision to remain in a relationship (unmarried) with a man who clearly did not appreciate her for eleven years of her life.
Just a quick note: I hope you don’t think I was being too rough on your guy in my response to you earlier this week on RR. I just don’t want you to get hurt anymore than you already have. You sound like a saint, you are so kind and loving. Always know you can reach out anytime. Please let me know how things workout for you.
In God's love,
No, you were spot on. I have prayed about this constantly and have reached my decision. I am leaving. I already got a new job in a new state making more money and have found somewhere to live there. I am ready for the next chapter of my life to begin and I feel a large weight has been lifted off of me. Sometimes we fall in love with people who are just not what God wants for us. It is through prayer and knowing God’s love that I can leave with dignity. My hurt is now behind me. I am actually happy! I feel at peace.
I know God has something wonderful planned for my life. I am going to go and get it!! Esther, thank you so much for your encouragement and kind words. They are just what I needed. I realized that my life wasn’t what I wanted it to be and with God directing my new path, how can I go wrong? If I could tell your readers one thing it is TRUST GOD. HE knows best. Thank you again.
Your Bible advice is very uplifting. You give sound Bible based answers and a blessing to all. And because of your knowledge I am writing to ask for your help.
I would like your opinion on purchasing Bibles for my grandchildren. I would like Bibles that are true to the KJV, yet are easier to understand for my grandchildren’s age group (5, 6, 9 years old and ages 13, 15, 16 and 18).
After looking at some Bibles at my local Bible store I am a bit confused as to what is the right choice. I leafed thru a couple of teen Bibles (NIV) and really did not feel they were very Bible-based in some of the content. I’m no prude about these Bibles addressing teen issues but I just don’t think the answers were appropriate in regard to biblical principles.
My grandchildren know about God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. I talk to them about being saved and living a life pleasing to God (without being preachy as some would say). I am sorry to say they are not in church and will not go with me. I am very concerned for them. I believe that so many are forsaking God for the world, in what the signs of the times are pointing to these last days before the Rapture.
My seven grandchildren are all very good kids and that is not just a biased opinion from Grandma. I say prayers to God that He will draw them closer to Him (along with their parents and everyone else who isn’t saved). I am just planting a seed with giving them all Bibles.
I do not know what to think other than just about everything has become corrupt. I do not want to support a company (Zondervan), a division of Harper Collins that publishes the satanic bible. Yes, that is what I read and how true it is, I am not 100% sure as the Internet is what it is.
The Bible says that we are accountable for what we do. So I ask you, Esther what am I to do? I only want to do what is right before God and for my grandchildren. I would greatly appreciate any guidance and information you can give me.
Many Blessings, Esther,
Thank you for your encouraging words and confidence, To God be all the glory. It is true that Harper Collins does publish a satanic bible. The despicable book is posted on their website.
I think it is outstanding that you do not want to support Zondervan/Harper Collins but I would ask you to rethink this just a little bit. If we all look around our homes we can find a massive amount of “stuff” that was either produced by slave labor or by companies that strongly support abortion and a countless other ungodly things. It is going to be tough to find a Bible that is not published by a company that is not compromised in some way. Remember, these are the last days. It is supposed to be like this.
Instead of feeling defeated, beat the devil to the punch and clobber him at his own game. Grammy, consider that the wretched old fool is no doubt full-force behind these company sell-outs and figures that if the secular companies get control of the Bible publishers it will make the Christians so mad that they will stop buying Bibles. Or at least cut way down on purchases. A demonic plot to keep the lost from reading the Word of God and getting saved! So I would defiantly march into a couple of bookstores and browse the Internet and crush that slithery snake’s plans to keep you (us) from buying Bibles, even if they are published by one of the companies that are secular to the core. Things are getting so strange, I for one am glad Bibles can still be purchased. Maybe we should all start stockpiling Bibles.
As far as the very young children (ages 5 and 6) I would look for books that feature the main Bible stories so they can become very familiar with them. For the 9 year old I would consider getting something similar but with more in-depth stories. For the older children, perhaps a patriotic themed: NKJ Bible. They have beautiful pictures and American history is tied into the text and might spark the interest of the teenagers. And for the adults in your family a good New King James or New American Standard Bible would be a good choice. You are right not to get the NIV teen Bibles. I agree that they have too many issues that are problematic.
Grammy, you are a dear. God bless you for being so concerned about your loved ones. Rest assured, the Lord hears your prayers and has a watchful eye on your unsaved family and the others you pray for, too. He wishes for no one to perish. And with a praying Grandma like you, they are surely on the Lord’s redemptive radar. Every grandmother should be like you. I am glad you wrote.
In God’s love,
“We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers, remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and Father” (1 Thessalonians 1:2-3).