I’m Ready for Heaven. Is it Wrong to Pray for God to Take Me Now?

If we never look forward to the next world or yearn to go to Heaven, it means we have become too strongly attached to this world. The Apostle Paul declared, “I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far” (Philippians 1:23).

But listen: As long as God gives us life, He has a purpose in keeping us here. Your life is not finished until God says it’s finished! No, you may not be able to do all the things you once did; neither can I. But God can still use you just as much as He ever did, even if it’s not in exactly the same way. For example, you now have time to pray for others in ways you may never have been able to do before. You will never know this side of eternity what effect these prayers have—but God’s work goes forth on the prayers of God’s people. The Bible says, “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective” (James 5:16).

You also can be an encouragement to those around you. I note from your letter that you are now in a nursing home, and all around you are people who may be lonely and discouraged. Ask God to use you to encourage them and point them to the hope we have because of Christ.

Most of all, thank God for the promise we have of Heaven because of Christ. Is your hope and trust in Him? Remember: “What is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18).

Put your hope and trust in Christ today.

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I Want to Try Church. How Do I Overcome My Fear?

Your concern is certainly understandable; no one likes to be embarrassed, regardless of the reason. But I sincerely hope this won’t keep you from discovering the encouragement and friendships you can find in a church which has Christ at its center.

What steps can you take to overcome your worries? First, if you have a friend who is active in a church, tell them frankly of your fears, and ask them to help you overcome them—perhaps by taking you to a service. Other friends may know of churches in your area that have a reputation for welcoming guests. Remember: there is no substitute for taking that first step—and once you do, you’ll be surprised how easy it will be to return.

While I encourage you to become involved in a church, I strongly urge you to take an even more important step—and that is to turn to Jesus Christ and by faith commit your life to Him. Our greatest need is to have our sins forgiven— and that is why Jesus Christ came into the world. By His death on the cross He became the final sacrifice for our sins, and by His resurrection He opened Heaven’s door for us.

By a simple prayer of faith ask Christ to come into your life today—and He will. Then ask Him to guide you to a church where you’ll be able to grow in your faith. God’s promise is for you: “To those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12).

Ask Christ into your heart today.

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Why Did God Create Me with a Physical Handicap? I’m Bitter

The most important thing I can tell you is that God understands your feelings—and yet He doesn’t reject you or get angry at you. In fact, God loves you—and once you discover this truth, your life will never be the same.

I hope you won’t dismiss what I just said as mere empty words—for they aren’t. Admittedly I don’t fully understand why some people go through life without serious physical problems, while others (such as yourself) struggle with limitations all your life. But I do know this: God knows what you’re going through, and He wants to help you move beyond your bitterness and anger. The Apostle Paul struggled with persistent physical problems, but God still used him to touch countless lives (see 2 Corinthians 12:8-10).

What can you do? First, face honestly the fact that nothing good ever comes from anger and bitterness. Instead, they will be like a poison to your soul. The Bible says, “See to it … that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many” (Hebrews 12:15).

Then turn to Jesus Christ and by faith open your heart and life to Him. He endured far greater suffering than any of us will ever experience—because He loves us, and wants to come into our lives and change us. In addition, ask God to show you ways you can help others who are handicapped. Job said, “I was eyes to the blind and feet to the lame” (Job 29:15).

Turn your bitterness over to Christ.

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I Asked Jesus Into My Life at Summer Camp. Now What?

I’ve very thankful you have given your life to Jesus Christ; it is the most important decision anyone can ever make! You are now God’s child; all your sins have been forgiven, and some day you will go to be with Him in Heaven forever. The Bible says, “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” (1 John 3:1).

What do you do now? First, if you haven’t already done so, tell someone about your decision to follow Jesus. Not only will it strengthen your commitment, but it will be an encouragement and a witness to others.

Then take time to be alone with God every day. Just as we need food to keep our bodies strong, so we need spiritual “food” to keep our souls strong. And God has given this “food” to us! Take time to pray, and also to read the Bible, which is God’s Word. (You may want to start reading in one of the Gospels—such as John—which tell us about Jesus’ life, death and resurrection.)

In addition, God has given you friends who are also believers. They (and their church) can be a great help to you. Pray too for your parents, and ask God to make you an example to them of Christ’s love and peace. Even if they don’t believe your words, they can’t argue with your changed life. God bless you.

Have you asked Jesus to be your Savior?

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Will I Get Into Heaven? I Want to Be Sure

Only one thing will keep us out of Heaven—and that is our sin. And only one thing will enable us to enter Heaven—and that is to be cleansed of our sin.

Let me explain. You may not think of yourself as a bad person—and compared with some people, you probably aren’t. But God is absolutely holy and pure, and even one sin—just one—is enough to banish us from His presence. That may be hard for you to accept at first, but when we sin, we are actually rebelling against God and turning our backs on Him—and that is wrong. And we’re all guilty; as the Bible says, “There is no one righteous, not even one” (Romans 3:10).

How, then, can we be cleansed and made righteous in God’s eyes? We can’t cleanse ourselves; no matter how good we are, we can never erase sin’s stain on our hearts. But God can cleanse us—and that’s exactly what He made possible when He sent Jesus Christ into the world. Christ was without sin—but on the cross all our sins were transferred to Him, and He took upon Himself the judgment and Hell that we deserve. He died in our place!

What do you need to do? Turn to Christ and confess your sins to Him. Then put your faith and trust in Him alone for your salvation, and ask Him to come into your life. God’s promise is true: “God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life” (1 John 5:11-12).

Make sure of your eternity. Take this step today.

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We’ve Spent Our Savings and Are Close to Retiring. What Now?

Thank you for your letter—and I too hope it will encourage people to be more careful with their finances and give more thought to their future. The Bible commends the thrifty wife who “watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness” (Proverbs 31:27).

You are wrong, however, when you suggest this isn’t a spiritual question—because it is! God is concerned about every detail of our lives, and the Bible has much to say about how we use our money. For example, if we use our money just to enjoy life and satisfy our own desires, this indicates we aren’t really concerned about others and their needs. Most of all, it indicates that we have never stopped to ask God how He wants us to live. Jesus warned, “You cannot serve both God and money” (Matthew 6:24).

This is why I urge you to take the most important step anyone can ever take about their future—and that is to turn to Christ and commit your lives to Him. Yes, ahead of you is retirement (if God gives you those years). But some day this life will be over, and the time to prepare for that day is now. By a simple prayer of faith give your lives to Christ today.

Then ask God you to help you prepare in practical ways for the future. God loves you, and He knows what is best.

Are you prepared for eternity? Take this step now.

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Why Stay Married to Just One Person Forever? I’d Get Bored.

I’m very sorry you feel this way—because there is no greater joy than sharing your whole life with the spouse God has given you. But if we enter marriage thinking that we’ll probably move on after a few years, we’ll never experience this joy.

After all, God gave marriage to us, and He meant for it to be a relationship that would last as long as both spouses are alive. The reason is because God knows we need each other, and only when we love each other and are committed to each other will we be truly happy. Otherwise our relationship will always be insecure and unstable, and we’ll never experience the joy God intends us to have. I often think of Jesus’ words concerning marriage: “So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate” (Matthew 19:6).

The greatest enemy of true love in a marriage is selfishness—living for ourselves instead of each other. If your only concern is what your spouse can give you, your relationship will always be shaky. But when you’re truly committed to each other, you’ll want to serve each other and help each other. This is true love.

How do we get this love? It is God’s gift to us, as we open our hearts and lives to His love. Turn to Jesus Christ and ask Him to come into your life today. The Bible says, “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19).

Just how much does God love you?

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I Want to Return to My Abusive Husband. What’s Wrong with Me?

No matter why you feel this way, I strongly urge you not to give in and return to your abusive spouse. Not only could it endanger your life, but it would do nothing to encourage him to change.

Why are you like this? Perhaps you simply are lonely, and you miss being with someone who knows you. Or perhaps down inside you think you are a bad person, and therefore you deserve to be punished. Or there may be other reasons for your feelings (your shelter may be able to point you to a counselor who can help you understand them). But no matter where they come from, don’t let your emotions lead you down the wrong path.

Instead, I pray that you will turn to Jesus Christ and commit your life and your future into His hands. The most important thing I can tell you is that God loves you. He knows all about you and your situation, and He wants to surround you with His love and His protection. He loves you so much that Christ went to the cross and gave His life for you, so that you could become part of God’s family forever.

This is why I urge you to commit your life to Jesus Christ. Then ask Him to help you see yourself the way He sees you—as His dearly loved child—and to give you wisdom about your future. God’s promise is for you: “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5).

Surrender your heart to Christ.

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Why Is My Faith So Up and Down?

No, you don’t always need to be this way—because God doesn’t want you to be this way! In fact, He has given you everything you need to strengthen your faith and help you know He is with you every moment of the day.

Let me explain it this way. I note from your email that you are married—but how do you know? You know you are married because at one point in your life you and your husband said “I do”—in other words, you made a firm commitment to accept each other and be united to each other. From that point on you were linked together in marriage.

And the same is true with God. You may believe in Him … you may even feel His presence from time to time … but have you ever decisively committed your life to Jesus Christ and welcomed Him into your life? By a simple prayer of faith you can commit your life to Him today—and I pray you will. Jesus said, “Whoever comes to me I will never drive away” (John 6:37).

Then take steps to strengthen your relationship with Christ. Just as your relationship with your husband has grown over the years, so too should your relationship with God. And it will, as you get involved in a church where Christ is preached and lived, and as you pray and learn from the Bible every day. The Bible says, “Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ” (Romans 10:17).

Start or renew your relationship with Christ.

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Isn’t Religion the Same as Superstition?

As I read your email I couldn’t help but feel sorry for you—because what you are really saying is that you don’t want anything to do with God. In other words, you have closed your mind to the possibility that God even exists—and not only that He exists, but that you can have a living relationship with Him.

Yes, you’re right, up to a point; superstition means believing in things we can’t prove. It also means being held captive by fears and anxieties that we can’t control or do anything about. The Bible, however, warns us not to give in to superstitious habits or fears, but to put our trust in the living God.

You see, superstition and faith in the living God are not the same thing, in spite of what you say. In fact, they are exact opposites. God is real—and the evidence for His existence is all around us. We see it in the worlds He created—and most of all, we know it because 2,000 years ago He came down to earth and walked among us in the person of Jesus Christ.

Don’t let pride, or sin, or anything else keep you from God. Instead, I challenge you to look with an open heart and mind at Jesus Christ, as He is found in the Gospels of the New Testament. He can change your life. 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).

Do you know how much God loves you?

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