What Is the Possible Purpose for Stillborn Children or Those Who Live Only a Short Time?

Question:  Since many children die as soon as they are born, what’s the purpose of a newborn baby who dies after some minutes? Why does God give or insert a soul to children who die as soon as they leave the womb?

Answer:  We might ask a similar question about people who never develop mentally and emotionally enough to come to know God (at least, we can’t tell that they have).  I think the answer lies in the fact that God has a purpose for their lives and quite likely they are received into His care in heaven upon death, so their eternal purpose is clear, but their short or attenuated lives serve a purpose in how we receive them or experience their brief time with us or how we care for them as those who never fully develop.  They have a purpose in our lives that is crucial for our development.

We learn something about unconditional love and about grieving their loss that is important to our growth as those God has ordained to be conformed to the image of Christ (Romans 8:28-29).  Of the man born blind mentioned in John 9, Jesus said that his blindness was for the glory of God.  Yes it was painful for him and for his parents and others, but his healing resulted in God receiving glory.  In the same way, the stillborn or short lived newborn, brings glory to God as the parents and family continue to trust or learn to trust God and give testimony to His goodness despite this tragedy.  This in turn speaks to those outside the family who may need to see this hope that exists despite what seems a hopeless situation.
It is when people see that hope does not reside in our circumstances but in our God that they are able to see that their own hope must rest in God and they may then be on the way to believing in Him for salvation.  Peter said to always be prepared to give a reason for the hope that is within you (1 Peter 3:15) and that is most likely to be required of you when you face tragedy with hope in Him.  Unbelievers will want to know how that is possible and you will have the answer.
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What Does Jesus Mean By Hating Father and Mother?

Question:  Luke 18:26 ….please explain what Jesus said about if we do not hate our mothers, fathers etc. This saying from the Jesus I do not understand.

Answer:  The passage you mention is Luke 18:29–30, And he said to them, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who will not receive many times more in this time, and in the age to come eternal life.” (ESV).  In Luke 14:26, Jesus says, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.”

Jesus did not hate his mother but provided for her at his death by committing her to John’s care.  Jesus’ is talking here about our priorities.  Our first priority as Jesus’ disciples must be to follow and love him above all else.  He could not say this if he were not God.  Jesus is calling us to love God above all others because only then will we be able to love our loved ones in the truest way.  So Jesus is speaking in heightened terms here to make the point.  It is intended to shock us into thinking deeply about our most prior commitments.  But he also promises that such commitments will yield reward in the kingdom.

What if God’s plan doesn’t want something important to me to go right?

Question: The Bible always says that God will make everything all right in the end, and if something doesn’t go right, it’s because God’s plan says it’s not supposed to go right. I know that’s supposed to make you feel better, but it does the opposite for me. What if God’s plan doesn’t want something important to me to go right? Please help, because this is one of the main reasons why I feel my faith is weak. For some reason, just “trusting the plan” doesn’t make me feel any better.

Answer:  There is an entire book in the Bible devoted to the search for some guarantee that our lives will go right.  It is the book of Ecclesiastes.  The author sought to “gain” a bright future through various means including wisdom and folly.  He discovered that folly is sure to bring pain and misery, but that even wisdom and behaving wisely cannot keep things going right.  And the ultimate proof of that is death.  We’re all going to die.  God will not rescue us from that negative future.  What he finally counsels is to enjoy the happy moments of life but prepare for the unhappy ones, especially death.  And above all, keep God’s commands.
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What Are the Proper Elements to Use in the Lord’s Supper?

Question:  My Church has been using Oyster Crackers for unleavened bread ? And Grape Juice for the wine. I am very concerned about the Crackers. Are we not supposed to use unleavened Bread ? I’m very concerned !!!

Answer:  Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper during Passover and at Passover they would only use unleavened bread to remind them of the day they left Egypt in haste and left behind all the old life.  There is nothing said in Scripture about what exactly we must use in our supper to commemorate Jesus’ sacrifice and promised coming again, but we have historically used elements similar to those at the Passover dinner to show continuity with that past deliverance and our own.  Jesus is our Passover Lamb.

But I don’t believe we are required to use unleavened bread.  There are some places on earth where believers would have a hard time coming up with either of these elements (I’m thinking Papua New Guinea and other remote places).  The most important thing is that we are recognizing in these elements the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ for us and anticipating the great wedding feast of the kingdom when we will sit down to meal with Jesus as his bride and commemorate the coming of the kingdom to earth.

What Does It Mean to Be “Called”

Question:  What does it mean to be called?ordination

Answer:  It usually means to be selected by God to do some form of full-time ministry.  The bigger question is how that happens?  Undoubtedly God has put it on the hearts of some individuals that they are to pursue full time pastoring or missions, etc.  But this should always and will always be accompanied by gifts God gives to these individuals that are recognized by faithful members of the Body of Christ.  An example of this is Acts 13:1-3 where Paul and Barnabas are said to be called by God and through prophetic utterance the church is told to set them apart for missions ministry.  But they have already been demonstrating gifting and faithful service for years.  Can someone resist this calling or forfeit it by misconduct?  I think so.  Paul said he labored to maintain faithful ministry lest he be disqualified (1 Corinthians 9:27).

In one sense every Christian is called.  We are all subject to obey the great commission Jesus gave us before he ascended to heaven (Matthew 28:19,20).  We may also say we have a career calling.  But the call to carry out the great commission is the highest priority.  Nevertheless, God often wants us to use our career calling to help establish our witness and enhance our ability to carry out the great commission.  Some are called to make doing the great commission their entire focus, usually with the idea of helping the rest of the Body become more equipped to do their part in making disciples of all nations (Ephesians 4:11,12).

Do I Really Need to Go to Church?

A Different Church Building

A Different Church Building (Photo credit: justshootingmemories)

Question: I am a “new” Christian and I have a question that concerns me.  I do not have a church home and to be perfectly honest, I have not found one that makes me comfortable.  There seems to be too much politics involved, so to speak.  I pray, I believe that Jesus died for me, I study my Bible and I listen to various services on TV and have received much knowledge by doing so.  My life is dedicated to serving my Lord but I do not want to displease Him.  Is it necessary to have a church home?

Answer:  Yes, I believe it is necessary to have a church home.  I know that there are unpleasant interactions in any body of people gathered for a common purpose.  Politics, the practice or study of the art and science of forming, directing, and administrating states and other political units, is an inevitable part of any collective body.  But the politics of the church should be about implementing the will of our Leader, Jesus Christ.  His apostles, who were his authoritative spokesmen for the faith, planted churces wherever they went.  That is, they called together the believers for the purpose of meeting in unity around the authoritative gospel message and to worship together their Savior.  They appointed leaders to help govern the church.  But of course, from the very beginning there were leaders who did not lead well and plenty of opportunities for church members to get upset with each other.

It is in this kind of situation, however, that we learn that we are just as capable of the very errors we hate and in which we must learn to love and be loved.  Like marriage, which is also a very imperfect reperesentation of the ideal love we want to experience, the institution becomes a laboratory for learning love.  If we submit to the Lord and ask him to help us be shaped by love and be shapers of others by our love, he will certainly work that in us.  We need the accountability of others in our lives and to be those who offer accountability.

This is why it says:

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. (Hebrews 10:24-25, ESV).

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Can Satan Make Me Do Something I Don’t Want to Do?

Gustave Doré, Depiction of Satan, the antagoni...

Gustave Doré, Depiction of Satan, the antagonist of John Milton’s Paradise Lost c. 1866 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Question: Can the devil tempt a born again christian into doing something they do not want to do?

Answer:  Temptation is, by definition, an enticement to do something wrong.  So yes, the devil not only can entice us to do wrong, but in fact is looking for every opportunity to do just that.  Will he entice us to do something we don’t want to do?  Yes, if it serves to get us to disobey God.  Of course, there are some things we don’t want to that he doesn’t want us to do either.  We may not want to serve God in the face of difficulty or danger, and Satan would be perfectly fine with us not serving God in such circumstances or any circumstances.

Perhaps your question is really can the devil make us do something wrong even when we don’t want to.  And the answer to that question is no.  He cannot make us do anything.  He can lie to us, seek to persuade us to do wrong things, and even create pressure for us to do wrong.  But we must choose to either believe his lies, follow his persuasion, or yield to his pressure.  Even if there were not devil, we are capable of choosing to do evil.  Our desire to be our own god is the same one Satan is following and so we are in one sense quite on the same wavelength with each other.

There are some people who have so fully yielded to Satan that they seem to lose control of their lives (see the case of the man in Mark 5:1-20), and children who somehow come under Satan’s influence might also be subject to his control (Matthew 17:14-20).    This is what is sometimes called “possession.”  The demon seems to have ability and freedom to operate through the body of the host he infects.  But even here there is a person there who can will for these demons to depart and who can be delivered.

Paul describes (Ephesians 2:1-4) three influences to evil in our lives:  Satan (the prince of the power of the air), the world (our coporate desire to be our own gods expressed in encouragement to one another to follow this instinct), and the flesh (our own inner yearning to be god and trust ourselves rather than Him).  On the day when Jesus establishes his millennial kingdom on earth (Revelation 20), he will greatly minimize the world’s influence (all people starting out will be believers) and he will banish Satan for a thousand years, and yet, at the end of that period, when Satan is released, there will be people ready to follow him in a military campaign against Jesus.

That is how crazy sinful we are.

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