Reconcile with Your Loved Ones Before it’s Too Late

Thank you for your letter; I certainly hope it will encourage people to leave the past behind and be reconciled to those we have hurt before it’s too late. Nothing—absolutely nothing—is more final than death, and it closes the door on everything we should have done, but didn’t.

As I read your letter I couldn’t help but think of King David in the Old Testament. In many ways David was a great king, but in other ways he failed—and one of his greatest failures was as a father. He ignored his responsibilities as a parent, and his son Absalom turned into an undisciplined, self-centered rebel. In time Absalom tried to seize his father’s throne, but was killed in the subsequent fighting. All David could do was weep with regret: “If only I had died instead of you—O Absalom, my son, my son!” (2 Samuel 18:33).

Admittedly it’s not easy to go to someone we’ve hurt and tell them we’re sorry (particularly if they’ve also hurt us). Our pride gets in the way; we also fear we might make things worse. But this shouldn’t hold us back. Jesus said, “If you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you” (Matthew 6:14).

No, you’re no longer able to seek your mother’s forgiveness—but you can seek God’s! Confess your sins to Him, and by faith open your heart and life to Christ’s forgiveness and love.

Give your burden to Christ. Pray now.

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How Can I Know if God Exists?

I can tell from your letter that you honestly want to know if God exists, and I commend you for this. All too often people say they want to know if God exists—but in reality they don’t, because they know He’d make them change their way of living.

But I also sense that you aren’t simply curious about God. You have within you a hunger for God—a hunger that God Himself has placed within you (even if you don’t see it this way right now). God made us, and our lives are only complete when we give Him His rightful place. Don’t suppress that hunger He has placed in your soul, and don’t try to fill it with anything less than God. Put Jesus’ words into action: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you” (Luke 11:9).

How can you know if God exists? Look at Jesus Christ as He is found in the pages of the New Testament. You see, we will only know God if He shows Himself to us—and this is exactly what He did when Jesus Christ came into the world. He was God in human flesh—fully God, and yet also fully man.

Once you discover who Jesus is, you’ll also discover an even more amazing truth: God loves you, and He wants you to become His child forever. Don’t stay lost in the swamps of unbelief any longer, but open your heart and life to Christ’s transforming love and power today.

Find out how much God loves you.

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How Do I Know if I’m in God’s Will?

You’re right; I will urge you to seek God’s will, because only then will you discover why God put you here and what He wants you to do. Can you think of anything more important?

But God not only wants you to know His will—He also wants to reveal it to you! How will you find it? First, make it a matter of prayer. Often we think deeply about a decision we’re facing—but we never get around to asking God what He wants us to do. Don’t make that mistake, but commit your life to Christ, and then ask Him to guide you. Let the Psalmist’s prayer be yours every day: “Teach me your way, Lord; lead me in a straight path” (Psalm 27:11).

Then ask God to give you some definite markers to lead you. It may be advice from people who know you; it may be doors that unexpectedly open; it may be a growing interest in some field of study or work. The Bible says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Finally, don’t be afraid to make a decision, even if you aren’t sure it’s what you want to do the rest of your life. Remember: all you really need to know right now is the next step. God loves you, and He can be trusted to guide you.

Have you put your trust in God? Take this step now.

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What’s Wrong with Me? I Feel Worthless

I don’t need to tell you that you’re about to go down a dead-end road; you saw what happened to your parents. One reason I wanted to reprint part of your email here is because I hope it will warn others who are in danger of making the same mistake.

Don’t beat yourself up, however, or tell yourself that you’re worthless, because you’re not—not in God’s eyes. God knows all about you; He knows your background, and He also knows your failures and the dangers you face. And yet He still loves you, and He yearns for you to give your life to Christ and find in Him the help and hope you need.

How do I know this? Just a few days ago Christians all over the world celebrated the two greatest events in human history: the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ almost 2,000 years ago. Why are they so important? The reason is because on the cross Jesus Christ took upon Himself all our sins, and through the resurrection He conquered sin and death and Hell forever.

By a simple prayer of faith ask Christ to come into your life—and He will. Then ask Him to help you overcome your past and live the way He wants you to live. Ask Him also to guide you to someone who can help you deal with the problems you’re facing. Jesus’ invitation is for you: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened … and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28-29).

You are loved by the King of Kings! Find out how much.

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Why Did God Allow Me to Get Sick?

I don’t know all the reasons why God has allowed this to happen to you—but I do know this: God knows all about your situation, and He has not abandoned you. Nor will He abandon you in the future! God’s promise is true: “Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you” (Isaiah 46:4).

How, then, should you deal with this challenge? First, deal with it with faith—faith that God loves you, faith that He will be with you, faith that even as your strength fades, He’ll help you face each day with peace. Then deal with it with hope—hope that someday all the limitations of this life will be over, and you will be with Christ in Heaven forever.

In addition, deal with this challenge with thankfulness—thankfulness for your family, thankfulness for each day God gives you, thankfulness that you still have a measure of health. I often think of the Apostle Paul’s words: “Pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances” (1 Thessalonians 5:17-18).

How can faith and hope and thankfulness become real to you? They’ll become real as you turn to Christ, asking Him to come into your life and cleanse you from all your sins. They’ll become real too as you pray, and read God’s Word, and gain strength from other believers. If you have never asked Jesus Christ to come into your life, do so today.

Have you lost hope? Find it in Christ today.

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Why Doesn’t God Answer My Prayers?

If we refuse to repent of our sins and seek God’s forgiveness for what we’ve done, why should we expect God to answer our prayers? Then we’re treating Him with contempt, and we aren’t honestly seeking His will as we pray. The Bible says, “Your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear” (Isaiah 59:2).

Does this mean we have to be perfect before God will answer our prayers? No, it doesn’t; after all, no one is perfect. But it does mean we should examine our lives and be sure we aren’t holding on to our sins, but have turned to Jesus Christ for the forgiveness we need. Have you opened your heart and life to Him? If not, the first prayer you need to make is to ask Christ to come into your life as your Savior and Lord.

Will God then answer all your prayers exactly the way you want Him to? No, He won’t—but the reason is because God knows what is best for you, and instead of “yes,” sometimes His answer is “no” or “wait.” We may not like that—but later we’ll realize that He was right and we were wrong.

Remember: We see only part of the picture—but God sees it all. And because He loves us, we can trust Him to answer our prayers according to what He knows is best for us—even when He says “no.” The Bible’s words are true: “As for God, his way is perfect … he shields all who take refuge in him” (Psalm 18:30).

Ask Christ to be your Lord and Savior.

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How Can I Stop Worrying So Much?

It’s not wrong to plan ahead or budget our money; if we don’t, we easily end up spending money we don’t really have on things we don’t really need—which is wrong. The Bible says, “The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways” (Proverbs 14:8).

But planning ahead isn’t the same as worrying about the future. When we worry, anxiety about the future takes root in our minds and hearts, and we become more and more fearful and unsettled. Constant worry also leads to doubt—doubt in ourselves, but most of all doubt in God and His love for us. And yet worrying never changes anything; as Jesus said, “Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” (Matthew 6:27).

How can you overcome your worries? First, understand just how much God loves you. If God didn’t care about us, we’d have every reason to worry about the future. But He does care for us—and the proof is that He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, into the world to give His life for us. If you have never done so, invite Christ into your life today.

Then commit your worries to God. When worries grip you, don’t let them fester and grow; immediately turn them over to God in prayer. Let the Psalmist’s words be your guide: “Trust in him at all times … pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge” (Psalm 62:8).

Turn your worry over to God.

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Was Jesus Really Dead When They Placed Him in the Tomb?

There can be no doubt that Jesus was really dead. During those final hours on the cross Jesus endured one of the most painful deaths imaginable—but finally His life was over, and everyone knew it.

Think of what happened when He died. The hardened Roman soldiers who watched as His body was taken from the cross had witnessed countless deaths—and they knew He was dead. Those who wrapped His body in cloth strips and then laid Him in the tomb likewise knew He was dead. His enemies demanded the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate, seal the tomb and place an armed guard on it, which he did. The stone rolled across the tomb’s entrance weighed hundreds of pounds; not even a healthy person could have rolled it back, let alone someone weakened by beatings and crucifixion.

Only God could have brought Jesus back to life—and that is exactly what happened! And because Christ rose from the dead, you and I can know that death has been defeated! We don’t need to fear the grave, because by His death and resurrection Christ has conquered death and opened the door to eternal life.

What keeps you from Christ? Don’t let doubt, or fear, or pride, or sin, or anything else keep you from Him. God loves you, and Christ gave His life for you—and once you understand this, you’ll never be the same. This Easter may you join with those who heard the angel proclaim the greatest news the world has ever heard: “He is not here; he has risen!” (Luke 24:6).

There is hope in Christ. Find it here.

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Why Is the Day Jesus Was Crucified Called “Good Friday”?

If you had spoken with Jesus’ family and followers on that Friday I suspect they would have agreed with you. Then all hope seemed lost; Satan and his servants seemed to have won; evil and death seemed to have triumphed.

But if you had spoken with them only a few days later, you would have heard something entirely different! Then they knew all was not lost; Satan and his servants had not won; evil and death had not triumphed. In fact, the opposite was the case: The forces of evil had been defeated, death had been destroyed, and from that point onward human life would never be the same.

What made the difference? The difference was twofold: Jesus’ tomb was empty, and He had appeared to them. In other words, Jesus had broken the bonds of death, and now He was alive! And suddenly they realized that what had seemed at first to be a defeat was in fact a victory—a victory over Satan and sin and death. The Bible says, “You, with the help of wicked men, put him to death. … But God raised him from the dead” (Acts 2:23-24).

Why is it called “Good Friday”? Because by His death, Jesus became the final and complete sacrifice for our sins. We cannot erase our guilt, nor can we overcome our sins by our good deeds. But Christ did what we could never do for ourselves, by dying for us on that first Good Friday. May this day truly become “Good Friday” for you, as you confess your sins and put your faith and trust in Christ.

Pray now to put your faith and trust in Christ.

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Which is More Important, Christmas or Easter?

A friend of mine says that this is like asking which wing of an airplane is more important! Both are equally important and equally necessary—and the same is true of Christmas and Easter.

At Christmas we celebrate the fact of Christ’s coming into the world. He was born as a helpless baby to a poor woman and her husband in an insignificant part of the Roman Empire. And yet that baby was different from every other baby who had ever been born, or ever would be born—for He was God in human flesh. From all eternity He was God—but on that first Christmas He entered time, and He walked among us. As the Bible says, “The Word was God… [and] the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us” (John 1:1, 14).

At Easter, however, we celebrate the reason for Christ’s coming into the world. We have rebelled against God, and as a result our lives are enslaved by evil and sin and death. But Christ came into the world to free us from all these—and He did this by dying on the cross for our sins and then conquering death by His resurrection from the dead. Because of His death and resurrection, we can have hope—hope for our lives right now, and hope for all eternity.

Is your faith and hope in Christ? Make sure, by making your commitment to Him today. God’s promise is for you: “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die” (John 11:25).

Ask God to come into your heart. Pray now.

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