How do I win the battle in my mind?

Pastor Chris,

I am sending you this email because I am in trouble. There’s a huge battle happening in my mind. There are terrible thoughts which I can’t control . I have been unemployed for the past 8 years because of these terrible thoughts coming into my mind . If I can learn to control my mind I will be able to receive all the blessings the Lord has reserved for me . So PLEASE my Father, help me, PLEASE . Otherwise, I will miss going to heaven if I may die with this mind problem .

~ Mathais

ANSWER

Mathias,

I would like to give you some verses from the Bible.  These verses have helped me many times.

The secret to curing a troubled mind is to focus on Jesus Christ.  Ask Him to help you.  He will.

Philippians 4:13 “I can do everything through Him (Jesus Christ) who gives me strength.”

Philippians 4:19 “And my God shall meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.”

~ Pastor Chris

Is there anything wrong with marrying older than yourself?

QUESTION

Pastor Chris,


Is it wrong to marry a lady who is a year older than me? She is my female best friend ever since I was a teenager. A pastor once said, “Marry your best friend.” She inspires me and motivates and we also are pursuing the same goals.

~ Daniel Okpu

ANSWER

Dear Daniel,

Your pastor has given you some sound advice. From what you describe, God has blessed you with a wonderful lady. The age difference of one year is not an issue.

~ Pastor Chris

Recommended book about marriage: The First Years of Forever by Ed Wheat

Is Gog Russia?

QUESTION

Pastor Chris,

The Bible makes reference to Gog. Is Gog Russia?

~ Dustin

ANSWER

Dear Dustin,

Gog is the leader of Russia. “The reference to ‘Gog and Magog,’ when read in connection with Ezek. 38:1-39:24, seems to indicate clearly that Russia will play a prominent part in that final rebellion against the God of heaven” (Louis Talbot An Exposition of the Book of Revelation, p. 237).
Prophecy scholar, Hal Lindsey, writes these words in Chapter Five of his classic book titled The Late Great Planet Earth: “Gog is the symbolic name of the nation’s leader and Magog is his land. He is also the prince of the ancient people who were called Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal” (p. 63).
“Ezek. 38-39, which deal with Gog, the prince, and Magog, his land, describe the actual invasion of Palestine by a great northern confederacy, ostensibly headed by Russia” (The New Unger’s Bible Dictionary 1988).

“Described as ‘the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal,’ Gog is also depicted as being ‘of the land of Magog’ (Ezek. 38:2-3), a ‘place out of the far north’ of Israel” (Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary 1986).

~ Pastor Chris

Which church is for me?

QUESTION

Pastor Chris,

Thank you for taking time to answer our questions. My name is Prince from Southern Africa. I am a member of a certain Christian church. It is a good Christian church that preaches the true word of God, but somehow there are times we are not taught the word properly, actually many times. There is another church where I have seen that the word of God is taught much more definite and accurately. I have always followed the teachings of that other church. I have gotten to the point where I am inspired more in that other church than in my church. I have been thinking of moving to the other church. Now my question is how to know the right church for me. Do I stay or do I move?

Prince

ANSWER

Dear Prince,

I am thankful that you take your church membership seriously. The church is the body of Christ and a vibrant congregation is a powerful witness to a dark world in need of the light of the Good News.

It is obvious to me that you already have your heart with the other church. There is nothing wrong with that. Just make sure that your motive is to glorify Jesus Christ by maturing in the faith so that you may serve Him effectively and well.

A good book that I recommend for you is I Am a Church Member: Discovering the Attitude that Makes the Difference by Thom S. Rainer. You will find many helpful insights in this book.

Pastor Chris

Responding to God’s Word

QUESTION

Dear Pastor,

I have a question. We live life with a purpose. When we are faced with a difficult situation, how do we know that we are responding according to God’s word?
Thank You in advance.
Regards,
Hwee

 

ANSWER

Dear Hwee,

You are already on the right track. The spirit you show in this question tells me that you are genuinely seeking the Lord. The Bible says that God “…rewards those who earnestly seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6). God will bless you with insight into the situations of life so that you will know how to respond in ways that please Him.
First, maintain the spiritual discipline of reading, meditating, and studying the Bible. Take no shortcuts here. The more of God’s Word you have in your heart the more insight God will give you into the situations of life. His Word “…is living and active” (Hebrews 4:12). The word “active” (Gk. energes) means powerful, effective. God will never contradict His Word. He will never ask you to do something that is against His Word.
Second, ask God for insight and wisdom as to how to handle the situations of life. This was Solomon’s request of the Lord when he became king of Israel. He prayed, “Give me wisdom and knowledge, that I may lead this people…” (2 Chronicles 1:10). God answered Solomon, “Since this is your heart’s desire…wisdom and knowledge will be given you” (2 Chronicles 1:11-12).
Third, commit to submit. Decide ahead of time to submit to God’s will and to carry out His directions. Sometimes God’s will makes no logical sense to the human mind. The battle of Jericho is a case in point (Joshua 6). God’s people were told to march around the walls of Jericho seven times while the priests were blowing trumpets. After this the priests were to sound a long blast on the trumpets and the people were to give a loud shout. They were told that the walls would then collapse – and they did! This strategy makes no sense to the analytical human mind. However, God wanted His people to respond to their situation in that way at that time.
Fourth, listen for the “still small voice” of the Holy Spirit (1 Kings 19:12, KJV). He will nudge your heart and will never go against the Word of God. Be careful not to confuse the prompting of the Holy Spirit with the fleshly desires of your heart. “The heart is deceitful above all things” (Jeremiah 17:9). Your heart can and will lie to you unless it is fully given over to God.
Finally, seek out human counselors that are Spirit-led, biblically based, and have nothing to gain from you for their insight or advice. Proverbs 11:14 tells us that “many advisors make victory sure.”

~ Pastor Chris

Do not Call Anyone Rabbi, Father, or Teacher

QUESTION

How do you interpret Matthew 23:7-10? Jesus said we must not call anyone Teacher or Pastor as He is our Teacher and God is our Leader.

ANSWER

Dear Friend,

When interpreting the Bible we must always read a verse or verses in context. In other words, we need to understand the entire flow of the passage. When you do that in regard to your question, you will see that Jesus is speaking strong language against pretense and arrogance in spiritual matters. Specifically, Jesus spoke about the Pharisees and the teachers of the law (Matthew 23:1). Jesus said, “Everything they do is done for men to see” (v.5).
Jesus’ followers are not to behave like that.

The critical thing here is not titles but ego. The Pharisees and the teachers of the law were out for themselves. Jesus said, “…do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach” (v.3).

I have known authentic, godly men, who were seminary professors. We called them teachers, because they helped us understand the Bible and the ways of Christ. They sought no title. They desired nothing but to exalt Christ.
Jesus opposed pompous, self-righteous men who used titles as status symbols.

By-the-way, the word translated “teacher” in v.10 (Gk. kathegetes) means in the first place “a guide, one who shows the way; a leader, a conductor” and secondly means “a teacher” (The Complete Biblical Library, Matthew, p. 495). Technically Jesus did not speak against using the word “teacher.”
God opposes pride in all its forms.

~ Pastor Chris

Is Christmas Really a Pagan Holiday?

by Hank Hanegraaff, from The Complete Bible Answer Book

Shout and be glad. I am coming and I will live among you. — Zechariah 2:10

Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.— Colossians 2:16–17

As we continue our journey to the heart of Christmas, let’s pause for a moment to consider a common concern raised each year regarding the validity of celebrating Christ’s coming — namely, that when Christmas was originally instituted, December 25 was a pagan festival commemorating the birthday of a false god.

In response we should first acknowledge that this is substantially true. As noted by Dr. Paul Maier, eminent professor of ancient history at Western Michigan University, “The Romans of the time not only celebrated their Saturnalia festival at the close of December, but they also thought that December 25 marked the date of the winter solstice (instead of December 21), when they observed the pagan feast of Sol Invictus, the Unconquerable Sun, which was just in the act of turning about to aim northward once again.”

While this is indeed a historical fact, what is frequently overlooked is the reason the early Christian church chose December 25 as their day of celebration. The purpose was not to Christianize a time of pagan revelry, but to establish a rival celebration.

As such, Christmas (from Old English Crīstes +mœ ̄sse “Christ’s festival”) was designated as a spiritually edifying holiday (holy day) on which to proclaim the supremacy of the Son of God over superstitions concerning such gods as Saturn, the god of agriculture, and Sol Invictus, the unconquerable sun god.

While the world has all but forgotten the Greco-Roman gods of antiquity, it is annually reminded that two thousand years ago Christ, the hope of humanity, invaded time and space. But as Christians we perceive an even greater reality. Each year as we celebrate the First Advent of Christ, we are simultaneously reminded of the Second Advent in which the old order of things will pass away and Christ our Lord will put all things to right. As the prophet Zechariah put it,

‘Shout and be glad, O Daughter of Zion. For I am coming, and I will live among you,’ declares the LORD. ‘Many nations will be joined with the LORD in that day and will become my people. I will live among you and you will know that the Lord Almighty has sent me to you.’ — Zechariah 2:10–11

If you cannot celebrate this, pray tell, what can you celebrate?

Was Lillith Adam's first wife before Eve was created?

WHAT IS YOUR VIEW ON LILLITH FROM THE BIBLE AND DO YOU BELIEVE SHE WAS ADAMS FIRST WIFE BEFORE EVE WAS CREATED?

Answer

Daniel,

Daniel,

The Bible is clear that Adam’s only wife was Eve (Genesis 2:21-24). Any thought that Adam had a previous wife is unfounded. It has no biblical support.

The reference you cite regarding “Lilith” is in a single verse, Isaiah 34:14. Lilith comes from the Hebrew word lilit and is is variously translated as night creatures (NIV, NLT); screech owl (HCSB, Apologetics Study Bible, KJV); night monster (NAS); night hag (RSV); night-owl (YLT); night-monsters (LB); and night-demon Lilith (TM).

Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible states that Lilith is, “A demon attested only in Isaiah 34:14, but whose Mesopotamian roots go back to the 3rd millennium B.C. The Babylonian Lilitu was a female spirit who could not bear children, but instead gave forth poison from her breasts by which she would seek to kill babies. She was also associated with stormy winds and is described as fleeing from a house through the window. Within medieval Jewish demonology (italics mine) Lilith is identified as the “first Eve” who was created from the earth along with Adam, but refused to accept a position subservient to him. She then fled from him and roams the earth looking for newborn infants to devour. Isaiah 34:14 describes Lilith as dwelling with the wildcats and hyenas among Edom’s ruins; the picture is thus one of complete desolation where only death and destruction reign.”

Easton’s Bible Dictionary states, “The Hebrew word is from a root signifying ‘night.’ Some species of the owl is obviously intended by this word. It may be the hooting or tawny owl (Syrnium aluco), which is common in Egypt and in many parts of Palestine. This verse in Isaiah is ‘descriptive of utter and perpetual desolation, of a land that should be full of ruins, and inhabited by the animals that usually make such ruins their abode.'”

Lilith is therefore a demon or some sort of animal. In either case Lilith would not be a wife.

Why is there a need for Jesus if you are a devout Jew without sin?

Pastor Chris,

Assuming one is a devout Jew—like Jesus, and is faithful to all Mitzvot in the Torah—i.e. the Five Books of Moses, thus is without sin. Contained in the Christians’ “Greek Old Testament,”
Why is there a need for the New Testament—expounding belief in a Messiah, who has yet to appear to protect us? Per Numbers 24;17 & Deuteronomy 18;18.

Answer

Simcha,

Jesus is the only person without sin. This is because Jesus does not have a human father. Jesus is the only person in all of eternity who is fully God and fully man (John 1:1-2; 14; Philippians 2:5-11; Colossians 1:15-18). Our sin nature is passed down to us from Adam through our fathers. Thus, we are sinners by nature and we sin by choice. “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).

In John 8:46 Jesus asked His opponents, “Can any of you prove me guilty of sin?” Those who were against Him would certainly have pointed out sin in Jesus’ life if they could. They watched Jesus closely, looking for ways to discredit Him. They could not do it.

Being faithful to the Torah does not mean a person can say that they are sin free. A person who is faithful to the Torah must offer sacrifices for sin. The problem is that the sacrifices required in the Torah cannot take away sin. Hebrews 10:11 says, “Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins.”

The sacrifices required in the Torah prepared the way for the ultimate sacrifice that God’s Son would make when He died on the cross. Think of the Old Testament sacrificial system as a preview of what was to come.

When Jesus hung on the cross, God the Father accepted His sacrifice on our behalf as full payment for our sin. Jesus cried out from the cross, “It is finished!” (John 19:30); which means “it is paid in full.” Therefore, when we repent of our sins and place our trust in Jesus as our Redeemer we are forgiven and we gain eternal life (John 3:16-17; 5:24).

It has been said that the New Testament is the Old Testament revealed. In other words, the New Testament explains the Old Testament by telling us about Jesus the Messiah who fulfilled everything the Old Testament was pointing toward. Jesus said it this way, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them” (Matthew 5:17).

Pastor Chris