Why Am I So Worried About People Accepting Me?

You’re right; most of us like to be liked. And sadly, we may even do things we know are wrong (like lying about ourselves or doing things we know aren’t right) in order to get someone to like us. But such “friendships” are seldom lasting. The Bible rightly says, “What a person desires is unfailing love; better to be poor than a liar” (Proverbs 19:22).

You have taken the first step to break away from this by realizing what your motives actually are. All too often we do things like this without even thinking —but this only makes them worse. Instead, face your apparent hunger to be liked by everyone, and realize how harmful it can be. The Bible says, “Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways. … Keep your foot from evil” (Proverbs 4:26-27).

The most important step you can take, however, is to turn to Jesus Christ and commit your life to Him. God loves you more than anyone else ever will, and He wants you to become part of His family forever. Once you understand how much God loves you, your hunger to be liked by others will begin to fade.

God also will help you deal with temptation—and especially the temptation to impress others and get them to like you. When that temptation comes, face it … flee from it … and thank God that He loves you and is your constant friend.

Find your identity in Christ.

 

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I’m Successful, But Missing Something. Is it God?

Yes, I believe God is trying to tell you something—and I pray you won’t ignore Him or try to shut Him out of your life. I pray instead that your reaction will be the same as that of Samuel in the Bible: “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening” (1 Samuel 3:9).

What is God saying to you? The first thing I suspect He is telling you is that you have been building your life on a false foundation—one that will not last. Success … wealth … prestige … influence … all of these could vanish in a moment—and where then will you be? But more than that, some day you will die and meet God—and of what use will your wealth be then? Jesus said, “Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you” (John 6:27).

But God is also telling you that you need Him. Down inside we all have an empty space at the center of our lives. We try to fill it in all kinds of ways—but only God can fill it, and we’ll never be truly content until we open our hearts and lives to Him.

Don’t leave God out of your life any longer. Instead, by a simple prayer of faith ask Jesus Christ to come into your life and fill that empty place. Jesus’ promise is for you: “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10).

Ask Jesus to come into your life.

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How Do I Know if My Boyfriend is Really a Christian?

Only God knows our hearts, and only God knows whether or not your boyfriend is sincere when he says he believes in Jesus. The Bible says, “The Lord searches every heart and understands every desire and every thought” (1 Chronicles 28:9).

You’re right, however, to be concerned about the sincerity of his commitment, because when we give ourselves to Christ our lives will inevitably change. That doesn’t mean we’ll suddenly become perfect, or that every bad habit will immediately be rooted out. But it does mean we won’t be satisfied with our old ways of living. The Bible says, “If anyone is in Christ … the old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Instead of living for ourselves, we’ll want to live for Christ. Instead of putting our own desires first, we’ll want to put God’s will first. In fact, if there is no change in our lives, our “faith” may not be faith at all. The Bible says, “As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead” (James 2:26).

Pray for your boyfriend, that God will convict him of his need to commit his life without reserve to Jesus. Ask God also to give you the courage to confront him with his need to take Christ seriously. And if he refuses, I urge you to end your relationship with him. God knows your needs, and you can trust Him to bring across your path the perfect person He has chosen for your life’s partner.

Is Jesus your Lord and Savior?

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Does God Care if I’m Busy and Forget About Him?

God knows all about us—and yes, He understands everything that’s going on in your life. As the Psalmist wrote, “You are familiar with all my ways” (Psalm 139:3).

But I urge you to step back a moment and think about what you’re really saying. What I mean is this: You’re not only saying that you’re too busy for God, but that He isn’t important to you. Your job is important to you; your family and friends are important to you; how you spend your leisure time is important to you—but God isn’t important to you.

But listen: You are important to God! He watches over you and takes care of you; even the next breath you take or the next beat of your heart is a gift from Him. Most of all, you are so important to Him that He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, into the world to make it possible for you to be forgiven of your sins and go to be with Him in Heaven forever.

Let me be blunt: if you’re too busy for God, then you’re simply too busy. But God doesn’t want just a slice of your time—He wants you! Turn to Jesus Christ and commit your life to Him. Then build your life on the only foundation that will last—the foundation of Christ and His truth. He alone gives us hope for the future, and He alone gives meaning and purpose to our lives right now. Turn to Him today.

Have you committed your life to Christ?

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Why Should I Be Thankful for Hard Times?

We all want our lives to be smooth and trouble-free, of course—but unfortunately life isn’t always that way. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who was completely free of worries and problems. Job rightly said, “Man is born to trouble as surely as sparks fly upward” (Job 5:7).

The real question, therefore, is this: How will we react when troubles and problems arise? Will we react in anger, or despair, or doubt, or hopelessness? Will we spend our time blaming others for our problems, or denying that they even exist and refusing to do anything about them? Will we try to solve our problems on our own—even if this isn’t realistic?

Or will we turn to God for the wisdom and strength we need? This doesn’t mean all our problems will suddenly vanish. But it does mean we’ll no longer be alone, and even in the midst of life’s deepest problems we’ll find that God is strengthening us and helping us. Just as exercise makes our muscles grow stronger, so troubles and trials can make us stronger emotionally and spiritually. This is why the Bible says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance” (James 1:2-3).

The greatest discovery you will ever make is that God loves you—and the proof is that Jesus Christ was willing to give His life for your salvation. Invite Him into your life, and then commit your problems to Him—today and always.

Trust God with your life—and your problems.

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Why Doesn’t God Just Do Away with Bad People?

Let me ask you a question: If God somehow took all the “bad” people out of the world, how many would be left? Not very many, I’m afraid—because we all have within us the capacity to do bad things (even if we don’t like to admit it).

In fact, if God actually applied His perfect standard to the human race, no one would be left—because His standard is nothing less than perfection. You see, we all have within us a spiritual disease—a disease the Bible calls sin. At times it overwhelms some people and they become moral and spiritual monsters, oppressing and killing vast numbers of people. Most of us aren’t like that—but we still are filled with jealousy, envy, anger, and a host of other evils. The Bible rightly says, “There is no one righteous, not even one” (Romans 3:10).

But the Bible tells us an amazing truth: In spite of our sin, God still loves us! If He didn’t love us, we’d have no hope; He might even do exactly what you suggested, and destroy us all. But we can have hope—and the reason is because God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, into the world to make our forgiveness possible.

Some day we will know peace—when Christ comes again to establish His Kingdom. But in the meantime God offers us the gift of His salvation—and it becomes ours as we reach out and by faith and ask Jesus Christ to cleanse us and forgive us. Turn to Christ and commit your life to Him today.

You can make a decision for Christ now. Learn how.

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Can Our Church Survive After Our Beloved Pastor Retires?

Just as in any other profession or career, no pastor’s ministry is endless; the time must come for every pastor to step aside and allow others to take their place. Even Paul reached that point: “The time for my departure is near” (2 Timothy 4:6).

I know that it will be hard for you to see your pastor leave; it’s probably going to be hard for him as well. However, instead of giving in to discouragement or despair, my prayer is that God will use this to stretch your congregation’s faith and strengthen their trust in God. God is more concerned about your church than you are—and He can be trusted to lead you to the person He has chosen for your next pastor.

This is why the most important thing you and everyone else in your church can do is to pray. Ask God to help your church’s leaders as they organize the search process, and ask God especially to give your church great wisdom as you seek God’s choice for this position. Don’t expect your new pastor to be exactly like your present pastor, of course, but make it your goal to encourage and support him.

Above all, no matter what changes your church experiences in the months and years ahead, never lose sight of the One who never changes: Jesus Christ. Remember: You are “God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:9).

Are you trusting Christ for your eternity?

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What’s Wrong with Checking My Horoscope?

I don’t doubt her sincerity—but I’m afraid she is putting her trust in something that will only mislead her and take her down a wrong path in life. God alone is the One to whom we can look for guidance, and He alone can be trusted to lead us when we sincerely seek His will.

Why does the Bible command us not to turn to horoscopes or fortunetellers or astrologers for guidance? One reason is because often they’re only guessing about the future. Have you ever read the predictions some of them make at the beginning of each year—and then compared them with what actually happened? Isaiah mocked the astrologers of his day: “All of them go on in their error; there is not one that can save you” (Isaiah 47:15).

But the Bible also commands us to avoid such things because we may become involved with occult spiritual forces that are absolutely opposed to God. Instead of finding the truth, we will only find falsehood. Instead of finding freedom, we will only find spiritual slavery. Never doubt Satan’s power to deceive those who open their lives to his authority. The Bible bluntly says, “Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord” (Deuteronomy 18:12).

Pray for your neighbor, that God will open her eyes and turn her heart to Jesus. Ask God also to help you be a friend to her, and to give you opportunities to assure her of Christ’s love for her. He alone is “the way and the truth and the life” (John 14:6).

God created you and knows your future.

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Does God Really Care About Me?

You’re right in saying the universe didn’t happen by chance. Instead it was created by the direct action of God (whom you call the “Higher Power”). As the first verse of the Bible says, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1).

But does God really care about us? Or are we just an insignificant speck in an obscure corner of the universe, alone and forgotten? To put it another way, are we only here by chance? Or did God deliberately put us here, and is He deeply and personally concerned about each one of us? From one end of the Bible to the other, the answer is a resounding yes!

How do I know this? I know it first of all because God put within each of us a desire to know Him. We may mock it or deny it—but our hunger for God is still there, and it can only be satisfied by coming to know Him in a personal way.

But I know it most of all because of Jesus Christ. He was God in human form, who came into the world to demonstrate God’s love for us. You will learn much about God by looking at the world He created—but you’ll learn far more by looking at Jesus Christ. Open your life to Him today. The Bible says, “No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God … has made him known” (John 1:18).

How can you know God in a personal way? Learn more.

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Do I Need to Pray About Small Decisions?

My answer may surprise you—but in some ways both you and your friend are right. Let me explain.

First, think about your friend for a moment. Why does she pray about everything—even seemingly insignificant things? The reason, I suspect, is because she wants to do God’s will in everything. To put it another way, she doesn’t want to do anything that might be wrong or displeasing to God—and I commend her for that. I often think of Paul’s admonition: “Pray continually … for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:17-18).

But you’re also right that God has given us our minds, and it’s not wrong to think about our problems and try to find solutions for them. Luke decided to write about Jesus’ life because “it seemed good to me … to write to you an orderly account” (Luke 1:3, NKJV). Repeatedly the book of Proverbs urges us to approach our problems with wisdom.

The problem, however, is that our knowledge is limited; even when we think we know what’s right, we often don’t. Only God sees the whole picture, and that’s why we need to turn to Him and seek His guidance. If you have never done so, turn to Jesus Christ and open your heart and life to Him. Don’t let pride get in the way, but humbly ask Him to guide your every step. You may not always be aware of His presence, but He still promises to guide you.

Have you put your trust in Jesus?

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