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Life & God

How do I handle my parents' divorce?

Question:

I feel like my life is falling apart, my parents are getting divorced. I can't even comprehend it because I never would have thought this would happen to me. Im trying to find God in all of this mess, but I feel as if I am already to far lost. What should I do? And how can I build a stronger relationship with God?

Response:

To anonymous who's parents are getting divorced,

I'm glad you're reaching out during this dark time, it shows that you have a strong desire to know God and be close to him. Jeremiah 29:13 says, "You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart." God cares deeply for all the corners of your life - whether you're celebrating or enduring the hard times. Be honest with him when you talk to him in prayer, that shows that you have a genuine relationship.

Even though you might feel "too far lost", know that God is never far away and will never leave.(Acts 17:27 : "His purpose was for the nations to seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him-though he is not far from any one of us.") Isaiah 43:2 also shows that when dark times come, they will not overwhelm and consume you.

When things like divorce happen, great pain and brokenness is left. If you have trusted in Jesus to save you for eternity, you can also have hope in every day that he will provide healing for the broken hurts (Psalm 34:18, Psalm 147:3, Matthew 11:28-30).

Building a stronger relationship with God is something you should continually seek through all circumstances in life! Just like any strong relationship here on Earth: communication, time, love, and respect are key elements in your relationship with God.
- Talk with him in prayer with an honest heart.
- Spend time getting to know him by reading the Bible - His Word!
- As you grow in your knowledge of him, you will grow in love for Him, and lastly, respect his leading and authority in your life by honoring him with your choices.

Always seek advice from trusted, Christian mentors and adults - they will help you walk through this. If you have any thoughts about what I mentioned please don't hesitate to email me at



alayna@toddbecker.org
 

Can you lose your salvation?

Question:

Can you loose your salvation? The Bible talks about how people are changed as they step out of the darkness and put on Christ and walk in the light. Theoretically, what if, I was saved and I walked with Christ daily. I know for a fact the Holy Spirit dwelt inside me. But then I struggled with a sin, and I gave up fighting. my heart yearns for Jesus. I miss him. I miss the peace and joy that we're fruits of my relationship with him. Does this mean I'm no longer saved. Will God turn his back on me. Or will he continue to Persue me till I turn to Him again?

Response:

To Anonymous asking if you can lose your salvation.
 
First of all, take heart and be encouraged, because I can tell that God is at work in your life right now! He is calling you back to Him.
 
In answer to your question: can you lose your salvation? No, you can not "lose" it…God promises that He will never leave us or forsake us. But you CAN walk away from God.  So, you can not lose your salvation, like it was taken away from you, but you can choose to walk away from Jesus.  You can walk away from Jesus by choosing sin over Him.
 
You asked a question: will God keep pursuing me?  God is definitely pursuing you right now! I feel it in your statements that you miss Jesus, that your heart years for Him. God is in hot pursuit of you! But, as Genesis 6:3 says: "Then the LORD said, "My Spirit will not contend (put up) with humans forever." At any moment, you could be called up to stand before God, and if you haven't repented, you would be standing before God, not in right standing spiritually before Him. That is a very dangerous position to be in. Luke 13:3 says: "But unless you repent, you too will all perish."  Don't ask: how long will God pursue me? Because then it will make you think that you can keep sinning until YOU decide to turn back to God. Romans 1:24 says: "So God abandoned them to do whatever shameful things their hearts desired."
 Instead, thank God that He is pursuing you right now, and turn to Him while there is still time! You never know when your last moment on earth will be.  He is reaching out to you with His grace right now.
 
The devil is a liar. Sin seems so good and pleasant at the beginning, and then it makes you miserable and leaves you all alone. God has promised Life, and Life more abundantly. John 10:10 says: "The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly."  The devil tells you that sin will be more enjoyable than living for Christ, and then in the end, you find yourself devastated, fellowship with God severed and your close Christian relationships broken. You can't trust the devil. He takes very bad care of the people that choose to sin. But you can trust the Lord! He takes the best care of His people that choose to turn from their sin and repent.  Being in direct rebellion to God is a very dangerous place to be. You're never safe in sin. But standing forgiven before God is the safest place!
 
In closing, you know what you need to do. You know the next step. It will be hard, but you will never experience fullness of life and joy and peace again until you turn 100% from your sin and choose to follow Jesus with ever fiber of your being. He is waiting to restore you and forgive you. You just have to take the step to repent fully and turn all the way back to Him. Repentance means turning 180 degrees from the direction that you were heading. You know that God is calling to you. He is pursuing you! Don't expect Him to strive with your sin forever…turn to Him now while there is still time! You never know when it will be too late, and you will be standing before the throne of God with unrepented sin in your life.
 
My heart goes out to you! I want you to know that God wants to forgive you and restore you to relationship with Him! I would love to talk with you more about this, or anything that you are struggling with. I truly mean that. Please feel free to email me anytime at Becca@toddbecker.org

How do I keep my faith strong while in college?

Question:

How can I keep my faith strong while in college? I am on a college football team, and alcohol and drugs are everywhere. No one has the same beliefs as I do, and I do not want to fall into what this world offers. How do I stand strong, knowing that I am alone in what I believe?

Response:

Dear Anonymous who wants to keep his faith strong while in college.

First of all, thank you for reaching out to us with your question. Secondly, I would like to say that you have been put in an amazing place to minister to those around you. However, you will need to learn how to run from sin, otherwise you will fall into it.

Now in order to move forward I need to make this clear. The Bible is the Word of God and it is 100% true and reliable. Therefore, in order to help you out, I will be using scripture that I feel the Lord is telling me to use to help you through this time. However, please also be examining your life. From the sounds of it, you have surrendered your life to Jesus Christ already, and that's awesome!! But since I don't know you or know what you have been doing lately, please examine your faith as I share with you what the Bible says. I will be putting many Bible verses in parentheses so please look them up as you are reading through this!  Also, you have to realize that Satan is real and he came to steal, to kill, and to destroy your life. (John 10:10) He wants you to fall into sin, he wants you to feel shame and guilt for what you have done, and he wants to make you compromise your conscience so that your faith will also be shipwrecked (1 Timothy 1:19).

I get the reference to run from sin in 2 Timothy 2:22 "Run from anything that stimulates youthful lusts. Instead, pursue righteous living, faithfulness, love, and peace. Enjoy the companionship of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts."
Let's focus on the first sentence of that verse. I will tell you that as a young man (I'm assuming you are around 18-22 years old) there are a lot of 'youthful lusts' out there, especially in the college setting. These youthful lusts can be sex, partying, bad language, pornography, drugs, alcohol, masterbation, cruel/course jokes, gossip, etc. All of those sins are everywhere in our culture, but the Word of God says to run, literally run, from those things! Don't be apart of those things! I'm sure that at football practice is one of the worst times for you, as I'm sure many of your teammates cuss, make everything that's said sound sexualized, and I'm also sure that if you don't participate in those things than you probably aren't very popular amongst everyone. However, in Galatians 5:19 it says, "When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures,.....,drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God." That's a hard verse for many people because they see themselves in there in many places. I would like you to read through that whole verse and examine yourself for a second. Are you falling into some of those sins? The Good News for you is that Jesus Christ is the answer. (Read Romans 7:14-25) through Jesus Christ we can be forgiven from our sins if we turn from our sins (repent) and turn to God (surrender to the Lordship of Jesus over our lives) (Acts 3:19). You see, that's why I'm excited for you man! You are in a place where you can share The Answer with all of your team mates who are lost and have no hope! It may be hard to do, but I believe that God put you there for the opportunity to share your faith with everyone who doesn't know Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior! 

The second part of 2 Timothy 2:22 talks about having companionship with other Christians. I know you said that no one believes what you do, but I know that there is, you just aren't looking in the right places. You need to get connected with a church in your area. Find a solid, Bible preaching church and find an adult who loves Jesus and tell him about what you are going through. Build a relationship so that he can keep you accountable and ask you the tough questions about what is going on in your life.

Finally, you NEED to be reading your Bible every day! I've heard it said that the Bible acts as a filter from the world and the devil. The world tells you that sin is fun and it leads to joy and happiness. However, when you get the Truth into your life (the Bible) you will filter out those lies right away and be able to counteract them with the Truth that sin is NOT worth it! It kills your relationship with Jesus, and it leaves you feeling emptier and emptier every single time! 
Lastly, I want to leave you with this. Ephesians 5:1-20. PLEASE read this section of scripture and take a large amount of time to meditate on it and pray to God and ask him to give you the strength to resist the temptations . 

It's been my pleasure to write this back to you and I hope and pray that it helps and that you take what I said serious. Please, examine yourself, get connected in a solid church and take that step of boldness to reach out to an older man who loves the Lord and will be able to mentor you, be in prayer, and be in the Bible EVERYDAY! A few more verses I wish I had time to explain to you, but I want you to look them up on your own. 2 Peter 1:3, Ephesians 2:1-10, Colossians 3:1-10, and one of my personal favorites 1 Corinthians 10:13. 

I hope and pray that this helps. If you have anymore questions or would like to talk please email me directly at Alex@toddbecker.org

Can I be baptized again?

Question:

I was bapitized for the wrong reasons,can I be bapitized again?

Response:

To the person who asked the question about getting Baptized again:

Yes you can get Baptized again, and again, and as many times as you feel is pertinent. But once is the only mandate. But consider this, you shouldn’t get Baptized if you have not made a Confession of being a Follower of Jesus Christ. If you have any further questions, or would like to contact me directly, please email me at Bruce@toddbecker.org

What if I am a church kid, and am straying from the right path but don't know it?

To anonymous who is a church kid:

I really appreciate you writing in!  I am glad that you have the church in your life.  That is important.  However, the more important question is do you know Christ personally.  Many people go to church and many people claim to be believers, especially in America.  One study said that 78% of people identify themself as "Christian" in the United States.  However, if you look at our culture and even in your own school hallways I think you would agree that number is way, way, way lower.  You see, identifying as a believer is not just something you say.  It is not something you inherit from your parents.  It is truly being as it says in John 3, being "born from above".  That means you have to have a spiritual rebirth.  

Have you ever surrendered your life to Him?  Your question reminds of Jesus talking about the good shephered in John 10.  In that parable (or story), Jesus says that a shepherd knows who his sheep are. And the sheep know who there shepherd is.  They don't respond to strangers, they know where to follow because they know who they belong to.  Jesus says you cannot serve both the world and God.  It is impossible.  Galations 2:20 says that I have been "crucified with Christ and no longer live, but Christ lives in me."  Does he truly live in you, or are you a Christian because your parents or friends are.  A sheep truly knows his shepherd.  

I would love to talk with you more about this.  If you would like to talk further, please e-mail me at

chris@toddbecker.org

How do I stop cussing?

I completely understand the struggle you are dealing with. For a long time in my life I was very vulgar in my speech. I even hear many people who consider themselves Christians using the Lord's name as a swear word, and using common vulgarity in their own language.

So how do you stop? Well, you have taken the first step, and that is to express the desire to stop, that you realize it is a problem. So kudos to you for that!

Next, ask yourself, "Where does this vulgar language come from?" Some people have told me it is simply a habit, patterns of speech that they have used for so long that they don't even think about what they say before they say it. I know in my own life, it certainly was a pattern, and it was much easier and faster to swear than to use other words to better explain myself. But that is just a symptom, that is not the reason. Jesus tells us what the problem is in Matthew 15:18-19 "But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander." What Jesus is saying is that what comes out of your mouth tells the condition of your heart. If your heart is full of anger, then anger comes out of your heart. If it is full of evil thoughts, then those come out of your mouth. If your heart is full of love, acceptance, and pure thoughts, then these things will flow from your heart.

The next step is to evaluate your relationship with Jesus. Do you know Jesus as Lord and Savior? If you don't, then that is the first step, and let me tell you why. When you accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you have not only received eternal life, the Bible tells us that you have been made new: 2 Corinthians 5:17 "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!" So, given that you are a new person, you don't have to be held by the same things you were before. You are no longer a slave to your sin, you are now a new person, bought and freed by the blood of Christ. So, with that in mind, this is perhaps why you feel the need to stop cursing.

Now, if you have accepted Christ, and He is indeed your LORD, then why are you still swearing? Again, I would point to Matthew 15:18-19 above, and ask: What are you filling your heart with? Are you watching vulgar movies? Do you listen to music that has a lot of swearing in it? Do you hang around with people who are not saved who use vulgar language? If so, you need to fill your heart with the antidote--the Living Word of God.

What broke my sin of vulgarity was spending time reading the Bible, and getting a very deep understanding of His love for me. Learning how His desire for my very best meant that these bad habits had to go away, and I had to replace them with His love. Phillipians 4:8 is the key to this: "Finally, brothers and sisters, 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." By surrounding yourself in His Word--get involved in a good Bible study--you will fill your heart with His Truth. By watching less tv, listening to Christian music, and changing the people you hang around with, you will find your heart changing. And when your heart changes, the things that come out of it will change as well.

It also takes discipline, as changing anything in our lives does. Not only the discipline to change your habits, but the discipline to guard what comes out of your mouth. Proverbs 21:23 says "Those who guard their mouths and their tongues keep themselves from calamity." Hold yourself accountable to God for what comes out of your mouth, that it would bring forward love rather than rage. Psalm 19:14 prompt us "May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer." Also, though, it is important to understand that you need to have grace for yourself--you will slip from time to time. Doesn't make it right to do so, but when you do, simply apologize to Jesus, and remind yourself that you are not that person anymore.

One last thing--don't go around telling all your friends that they need to stop swearing or acting like you are better than they are. It is much better to simply stop swearing. They will notice, and this may bring opportunities for you to share why and how you stopped. I did ask my co-workers in one job to refrain from using God and Jesus as swear words, as that was offensive to me--and they made solid efforts to do so, because they knew I was sincere. As you grow and change, your friends and family will notice, and that will give you chances to talk to them about the love that fills your heart.

Whew! That was a long answer to a short question--I hope there is something there that helps you! I will be praying for you that Jesus' love will so fill your heart that not only will vulgarity so offend your tongue that you won't want to use it, but that your heart will so overflow with loving words that you become a beacon of love and hope for all who know you!

If you would like to speak to me further about this or anything else, email me at toddj@toddbecker.org

My world is falling apart, what do I do?

Question:

well just when think thing are getting better the world slaps me in the face tonight i argued with my boyfriend which i feel is starting to become normal. my e-bestfriend/we talked a while told me that if i didnt have a boyfriend he would date me. My boyfriend play with some other girls har then said he didnt do it, then told me he did it because it irrated her. then my ex-bestfriend who is i guess now my bestfriend again tells me all the stuff about how he treated me wrong and that he changed and if i was singe he would date me. My boyfriend gave me a promise ring and now that i have it i dont want it. i should have never taken it. my world is falling apart help me

Response:

"Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant. Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest death and decay from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit." (Galatians 6:7-8)

As I read through your problems that you are going through and the answers that you are looking for, I think it is important to realize that you harvest what you plant. This means that if you are living for things of this world, like friends and boyfriends (which can lead to sin when not used in a godly way), you will harvest the death and decay of the constant drama that you are going through.

"So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash you hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world." (James 4:7-8, emphasis added)

The good news is that you don’t have to stay in this place. God is inviting you to come to Him. But, you have to make a decision between God and the world, your loyalty can no longer be divided. Jesus Christ died and was raised to life so that you can receive a new life in pleasing the Spirit which results in everlasting life.

"He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them." (2 Corinthians 5:15)

So, my question is this—will you live for Christ?

If you have any more questions or would like to talk more, please email me at Emilyd@toddbecker.org


Question:

I have been going through a really hard time in school...my friends are turning on me, im behind on homework, and i feel like the whole world is just spitting me out. I know i am going through depression, but i am too scared to tell people. I can\'t eat...I can\'t sleep........ What do i do???

Response:

Life can get very hard at times, and people very often disappoint us. When friends turn against us, it can feel like there no one to confide in and no one to trust. In the book of Job, in the Bible, the man Job experienced some very difficult emotional times, and it specifically talks about three of his friends who treated him badly during that time, and do you know how Job responded? The only place he could turn for any comfort and the person he could trust was the Lord. Instead of becoming bitter or angry over the circumstances he was going through, his attitude became complete dependence on GOD for strength and comfort.

The Bible says that the Lord is "near to the brokenhearted", and Psalm 18:6 says "In my distress, I called upon the LORD; to my God I cried for help. From His temple He heard my voice, and my cry to Him reached His ears….He reached down from on high and He took me; He drew me out of mighty waters…the Lord was my support." It goes on to say in verse 30 "This God – His way is perfect; the promise of the Lord proves true. He is a shield for all who take refuge in Him." And verse 1 and 2 say "I love You O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer, my God, my rock in whom I take refuge."

So I encourage you to DRAW NEAR to the Lord. I don't know whether or not you have a relationship with him at this point, but regardless, seeking to be close to him will be your greatest comfort during this time. If you don't know him already, seek out beginning a relationship with him, and if you have one already, you need to depend on him and cry out to him to get you through this. He promised he will hear you! I also challenge you to read all the way through the Psalms, because I think you will find a lot of encouragement there.

I would be so happy to talk with you more, and help answer any questions, especially if you haven't begun a relationship with Jesus already, so I encourage you to email me if you like. I also think it would be wise for you to find someone in your life you can trust and tell them what you're going through – perhaps a parent or grandparent, a pastor, youth worker, or counselor. Confide in someone and ask for help! Email me anytime! Becca@toddbecker.org

How do you make God come into your life?

In order to answer that question, it would make sense for me to look into the word of God, the Bible, for the answer. Let's look at what it has to say.

Romans 3:23 in the New Testament says: "For everyone has sinned, we all fall short of God's glorious standard."

What would you say the standard is that it's talking about? That standard is the Ten Commandments, found in the Old Testament in the book of Exodus. Just in case you don't know what those commandments are, I'm going to list them for you.

1). You must not have any other god but me (God speaking here).
2). You must not make for yourself an idol of ANY kind (an idol is anything that takes the place of God in your life. Video games, girls, etc....)
3). You must not misuse the name of the Lord your God.
4). Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.
5). Honor your father and mother.
6). You must not murder.
7). You must not commit adultery (Jesus compared adultery with lust in the New Testament, looking at a woman with impure thoughts or intentions).
8). You must not steal.
9). You must not lie.
10). You must not desire to have anything that belongs to anyone else.

If you have broken even one of those laws, in even the slightest way, the bible calls it sin. Sin separates us from God and prevents us from truly knowing him.

Romans 6:23 says "For the wages of sin is death..."

The death that it is talking about is eternal death in hell. Eternity is a long time, it never ends! So we have a problem here, don't we? If we are so full of sin that separates us from God, how can we be saved?

First, the bible tells us in Acts 2:38 that we must "Repent of our sins and turn to God..."

"What is repentance?" you might ask, repentance is a complete 180 degree turn away from your sin. You start going back towards God and turn away from all of those wrong, sinful things that you have been doing.

Second, we must accept God's free gift of eternal life.

Romans 6:23 says "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord."

Coming back to God the Father is only made possible through what Jesus Christ did for us on the cross when he was crucified.

Speaking of Jesus, Isaiah 53:5 says "But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed."

Remember Romans 6:23? Jesus paid for our sins by dying on the cross so that we don't have to spend eternity in hell. But we must repent of our sins and turn to Jesus.

Romans 10:9-13 says this "If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved....Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."

How do I know God is listening?

I can assure you that God is listening to you if you are crying out to Him. The bible is very clear about this. Take a look at Psalm 34:17: "The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles." God wants to listen to our prayers and He wants to help us. We just need to make sure we are taking our requests to Him and including Him in our needs. He already knows our every desire, but He still wants us to come to Him.

In regards to God speaking to you, wouldn't it be nice if He just sent us an email or gave us a phone call? It can be very hard to know when God is speaking to us. It's important to be able to discern God's voice from our own imaginations. In my experiences, God speaks most clearly to me when I am in His word daily. The Bible is the road map God gives us to navigate our lives, so God will reveal Himself to us through His word. In addition to staying in God's word, prayer is also very important. There is no substitute for prayer. If we stay faithful to God, He will stay faithful to us!

I'm struggling to believe in God, how can I know He's real?

There has never been a question that man has struggled with more than that of "Is there a God?" Most people's objections to God come in the form of questions such as "Can you see God?" or "Can you feel God?" And while the answer to these two questions may be "no", I could ask a couple questions of my own to the skeptic, such as "Can you see the wind?" or "Can you touch the planet Saturn?". The answer to these two questions is obviously no. While you can see the effects of wind, you cannot see wind itself. And while you can see Saturn in a telescope, you simply cannot touch it. All of these questions put aside, however, there is only one question that truly matters. What happens after death? Do you want to believe that there is nothing, that your entire existence on this earth was to experience things that will mean nothing once you are gone? The truth is, there is a God, and after you die you will have to answer to Him for the things you have done throughout your life.

I cannot prove to you through research of any kind that there truly is a God. But at the same time, there is no way to prove that there is no God. This is because my belief, and that of others' in God is based on Faith. This is no easy thing to accept, especially for someone who does not believe in God in the first place. Something that might help you develop faith in God is something that we experience every day when we do something wrong. If you tell a lie or disobey your parents, you just know that it is wrong. You have a guilt inside that tells you of the wrong you have just committed. This is because of something that God tells us in the Bible:

Romans 2:15 "They demonstrate that God's law is written in their hearts, for their own conscience and thoughts either accuse them or tell them they are doing right."

Have you ever heard of the Ten Commandments? This was God's law given to man thousands of years ago. It is God's standard that we are to live by. And the verse I just shared with you shows us that the law is written on our hearts. That is where humans get their standard for right and wrong, because God has put that understanding in our hearts. The problem is, not everyone will admit that it is God who put that inside of them. And it is up to you to decide whether you are willing to submit to God and follow Jesus Christ with everything you are.

I could try to convince you all day that God is real, but all I can say is that I have a relationship with him through his son Jesus Christ and I KNOW he is real. And you can too. I want to encourage you to begin talking to God (yes, he can hear you), read the Bible, and ask him to help you to believe in him. Also, look at creation around you, is there really any way that all of this happened by random chance? It all comes down to a personal decision, and once you have chosen to believe in God, the next step is to follow Him.

The Bible says in Romans 3:23 that "Everyone has sinned, we all fall short of God's standard..." The standard that this verse is referring to is the Ten Commandments we discussed earlier. Breaking God's law is called sin. This includes lying, stealing, lust, desiring the possessions of others...etc. Romans 6:23 tells us "The wages of sin is death..." The death this verse is talking about is an eternity in Hell, separated from God forever. So how can one be forgiven by God for all of the sin they have committed? The answer is found through God's son Jesus Christ. The verse we looked at earlier has a second half to it: Romans 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord." Jesus came to this earth to pay the price for the sins you and I have committed. God required the shedding of blood for the forgiveness of sin, you can see that clearly throughout the Old Testament. Jesus, being without sin, became the sacrifice you and I needed to be cleansed of our sin and spend eternity in Heaven with God after death. Now, you must accept this gift from God, and turn from your sins in order to be saved.

How do I find myself?

What a great question. That is the age old question that all of us search our entire lives for and many people sadly never find it.

However, the answer to that question is readily available to you. It is the Bible. It is through Christ that we get our meaning. If we try to find it in ourselves, we will come up short every time.

We know God's will (our purpose) for our lives by first having the Holy Spirit in us. To do that you must be born-again.

Once you have surrendered your heart to Christ. You have become a new person. What that means is you are allowing Christ to live in you. Galations 2:20 says that "I have been crucified with Christ and no longer live, but Christ lives in me." That means that we live our lives knowing that Jesus lives in us and He alone guides our purpose in life.

When we read our Bible, through that God speaks to us. It makes paths clear and our direction certain. Hebrews 4:12 says that the "Word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; It judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart."

Go to your Bible and open your heart to what Christ wants for you and not what you want. It is there that you will find your purpose. God created us in His image, which means that we are called to serve Him. When we do that, it is there that we will have peace.

If you would like to talk more, feel free to email me! Chris@toddbecker.org

What is the meaning of life?

The meaning of life and finding our purpose can be found in the Bible, and this might seem like a long answer, but please read on. Just know that these things I am telling you will help you to understand what the ultimate meaning of life is.

If you haven't ever heard of Adam and Eve, the first man and first woman, I will tell you about them briefly. God created them to live on earth and worship Him and take care of the earth. Soon after they were created, however, they disobeyed God and ate fruit from a tree that He had instructed them not to eat from (Genesis Chapter 3). This disobedience is called sin. Sin separates man and woman from God. We today have this same "original sin" as it is called, and are no longer holy in God's eyes (Romans 5:12-21). The problem with this sin is that we can no longer spend eternity with God because of this separation. God requires us to be holy as He is holy (1 Peter 15-16). In fact, God's word says that because of our sin, after we die we are destined for an eternity in hell (Romans 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death…" and 2 Peter 2:4).

I know by now you might be asking yourself "What does this have to do with the meaning of life?" Just hold on, keep reading, and let me explain further.

This sin issue leaves us helpless on our own, because there is nothing we can do to rid ourselves of sin. If the wages of sin is death as Romans 6:23 says, then we have to pay the penalty for our sin, right? Yes, but there is a way out, keep reading. God's word says in Romans 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord." Jesus Christ came to this earth and died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sin (1 Peter 3:18 "For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God."). Now, this is good stuff, but if you live your life and say, "Awesome, Jesus died for me, I'm good now!" and continue to live your life in sin and rebellion to God, you will not be saved from eternity in hell! God's word says in Romans 6:1-2 "What shall we say then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?"

The Bible outlines in Romans 10:9-11,13 how one may come to surrender their life to Jesus Christ. I encourage you to read through the scriptures I have mentioned and examine your life. Ask yourself, "Do I have Jesus In my life? Am I following after Jesus?" If not, I would encourage you to surrender your life to Jesus today.

The reason I have spent so much time on this subject is because that's it. Jesus, He is the meaning in this life. Paul said in Philippians 3:7-9 "But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him..." Our purpose in this life is to glorify and honor God and live our lives surrendered to Him alone. Through Him is found true purpose, direction, meaning, and hope. Nothing in this world will satisfy you, only Jesus can do that.

I believe that the above paragraphs answer your other question; God does care for you, He does like you. He sent His son to die on the cross for your sins. Do you understand the depth of love that it would take to sacrifice your own son for someone else to be saved?

The Past

I know God has forgiven me of my sin, but why can't I move on?

Moving on can be a big challenge sometimes; it's one of the hardest things to overcome. Especially if there are constant reminders around you of the things you have done in the past that you regret. And even though God forgives us through what Jesus did on the cross, it's hard for us to understand that we don't have to be bound to our past. Christ has set us free from all our sinful ways.

The Bible says in Romans 3:23-24 "For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God's glorious standard. Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins." This verse tells us right there, God declares that we are righteous, that we are freed from the penalty for our sins. It's all taken care of, period.

Another great verse is Romans 6:6-7 "We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose it's power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin." We have victory over our sin through Christ. And even if you understand that simple, yet powerful truth, you must understand that these verses are also speaking of your past. Just as we have victory over our sin through Christ, we also have victory over our past through him. So whenever a thought comes back to you about your past, you just need to remember that it has already been forgiven. It has already been taken care of. You don't need to feel burdened by your past. Christ has already taken your burdens away. And while you may still feel the earthly consequences of your past, place your hope in Christ and his gift of salvation that has already freed you from the eternal consequences for your sin.

So, with all that said, you can live in victory. Don't dwell on your past; dwell on the things of God. The bible says in Philippians 4:8 "Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things."

I leave you with one last verse: Romans 8:1 "So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to him (Jesus Christ)…"

How do I forget my past and move on?

I'll be honest, I'm not sure there really is a way to forget your past. However, there is a way to accept your past and move on into the future, no matter how bad of a past you have had.

Jesus Christ is the answer to your past. Anything you have ever done, anything that has been done to you has been taken care of at the cross. Colossians 2:13 says, "You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins." This forgiveness comes only when we realize our sin and how we have offended God with our actions, turn from it, and accept God's gift, his son Jesus Christ, as a sacrifice to pay for the sins of the world. See, our sin separates us from God, and we are destined for hell when we die because of that. But God made a way through Jesus Christ. He can give you the strength to move on from your past into a future of life, joy, and purpose when you submit to him entirely. Your past doesn't matter when you are living in victory over it through Jesus. And when people bring up your past, or you are reminded of it, just think of what Jesus did for you. He paid for all of your sin; you just need to accept it.

While we do need to repent (turn away) from our sins and no longer pursue them, we are human. We will continue to sin until our last breathe. God knows this, he knows your weaknesses, and he will continue to offer forgiveness if you are repentant. The Bible says in 1st John 1:9, "But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness." God's grace is bigger than you or I could ever imagine. So when you repeat the past, and sin in the eyes of a Holy God, yet you have a repentant heart and confess that sin before God. He will forgive you, no ifs ands or buts.

So in light of this, I want to encourage you to lean on Jesus for the forgiveness of your sin. Know that you cannot overcome it in your own strength, but Jesus is all-powerful to provide that forgiveness. However, get yourself out of whatever situations are providing the temptation to sin and no longer pursue them. God's word also says in Romans 6:1-2, "Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can go on showing us more and more of his wonderful grace? Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it?"

Drugs & Alcohol

How do I deal with family members that drink & smoke?

I'm really sorry to hear about your circumstances and I really wish that you didn't have to go through them. I really appreciate your honesty about your situation as well. There are a few things I want to talk about regarding your question. 

First, in the Bible, in the book of Matthew, Chapter 7 it says this: "You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire. Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions."

I show you this verse to explain that the best thing you can do for them at this point is to pray for them because the part that I put in bold, talks about how we can identify a person by their actions. In other words, actions are a good indicator of where someone's heart is at. So, unless God changes their hearts, their actions are irrelevant and probably won't change for the better. 

Philippians 2:13 says "For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases Him." 

God gives us the desire to do what's right and then matches that with the power to do what pleases HIM - not our friends, not our parents, not our teachers, but what pleases GOD. That should be our first and foremost goal if we are a follower of Christ. 

Secondly, I want to challenge you to look at your life. 

Also in the book of Matthew, Chapter 7:3-5 it says: "And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying to your friend, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye."

I love that you have a heart for you brother and dad, but I want you to check your own life. As this scripture explains, it is really easy to look at the other people in our life and see their sin, when we are walking around doing just as bad or worse than they are. We ultimately can't change another person. Like I mentioned above, we have to get ourselves right with God first and then we need to pray and pray and pray that God will change the hearts of the people we love. 

Imagine you were given a ziploc bag full of small parts - screws, gears, levers, dials, faceplates, etc. and told to teach someone how to put together the Rolex watch that was in pieces in your bag.  

This would be utterly impossible unless you had previously learned how to do this before, right?

Just the same, it is very hard - nearly impossible, to explain Christ love to someone if you haven't experienced it yourself! 

Please take this seriously and search out if you are on the right path and if you are right with God.

Romans 3:22 says: "We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are."

If you have any more questions, please feel free to email me at

aaron@toddbecker.org

My friends' dad lets us drink, is that okay?

That's a good question and one that comes up a lot - you're not alone at all in your question. Please understand that we try to take a Biblical approach to all the questions we get and therefore, make the assumption that you are a Christian or are at least sensitive to becoming a Christian.

On to your question, basically you asked, "Is it okay to drink responsibly?" First, if you're under the legal age of 21, there really is no two ways about it. According to God and His word, it is not only wrong and thus a sin, but God also say's that it is direct disobedience against Him. Romans 13:2 says that "Those who refuse to obey the laws of the land are refusing to obey God..." There is a clear law in our land that says you are not permitted to drink under the age of 21. I'm not trying to come across harsh or hard, but I do want to be clear. 1 Peter 2:13 calls for Christians to "...obey every law of your government." I'm glad the Bible is clear on this because I don't think I could explain it otherwise.

But the big issue I find in drinking is not so much the "beer" or "hard liquor" issue. The bigger question is "why do we drink." I can tell you why I once was involved in the drinking and party lifestyle - because I was looking for life, I was searching for something to experience. The problem is that the bottle always runs dry and I was never satisfied, I was always looking to "live" a little more and more. Jesus said in John 14:6 "I am LIFE." And then HE (Jesus) made it very clear to me "People soon become thirsty again after drinking this water (sex, beer, drugs, porn, etc.). But the water I (Jesus) give them takes away thirst altogether...giving them eternal life" (John 4:13)

Jesus wants to give you the life that you are looking for and not finding at the end of ever party or beer. Jesus said in John 6:35 that "I am life...He who comes to me will never be thirsty." That's pretty different from what Miller High Life or Budweiser wants from you - they want you to keep coming back for more and more, more thirsty every time. And the worst thing for them would be for you to never be thirsty for what they offer.

If you would like to talk more, feel free to email me! Chris@toddbecker.org

My brother is hanging with the drinking crowd, what should I do?

Thank you for your question and for caring about your brother. You have a large burden in caring for your brother and it's very good of you to think about his future and life. Thanks also for taking the time to step out, be honest with your question and put it in writing - that's a big step!

On to your question. This is a question we get quite a bit, and it's one of the hardest to answer. First, you are right when you say that hanging out with friends who are headed down a wrong path will undoubtedly influence your brother in a negative way also. 1 Corinthians 15:33 says it well: "Don't fool yourselves, bad friends will destroy you." Solomon (in the Bible) warned his people not to become friends or associate with people who were not on a path towards God and righteousness, warning them that if we did, we "...might learn their habits and not be able to change." (Proverbs 22:24-25) I share this to simply affirm your concern and to even give you some Biblical foundation to share with your brother.

Ultimately, to answer your question of "what should I do?" I would start with this: what kind of friends do you have? Is your brother seeing you with the kind of friends that are headed down the narrow road towards God? Too often we, in my opinion, quickly point out what is wrong, but seldom to we point to the way that is right. I'm guilty of that. I do try, though, to be a solid witness or example to my friends and world by associating and surrounding myself with people who are seeking God. This doesn't mean that myself or even my friends are all "goodie two-shoes" but it does mean that we are actively seeking God and trying to take the right road in every situation.

I believe if you can check yes to these questions above, then you've probably done all you can do to help your brother. There comes a point when we have to step back and let them make their own decisions. I know that's hard and scary, but unfortunately, all we can do is share our thoughts, walk our walk and let others decide for themselves which way they'll go.

I hope this helps. You're in a tough spot with your brother, but never stop caring and being there for him. And it goes without say that God is the only one who can change people, so praying that God would change your brothers life is another way to care.

If you have any questions you can email me anytime! Keith@toddbecker.org

I've drank once, am I becoming a drinker?

The Bible is full of people who messed up, but they didn't stay that way.  They chose to turn to Jesus, turn away from their past and sins, and live a new life.

It is important not to let our past determine our future. What I mean by this is, that we should not let past mistakes drag us down and make us worry about our future.  We need to repent of these mistakes (turn away from them) and ask Jesus for the power to live for Him and to say no to temptation.

   You can choose today to not become a drinker. In Jeremiah 21:8, it says "Take your choice of life or death!"  Remember, you can't do this in your strength. You have to depend on Jesus to help you. That means, living a life that is honoring to him: growing in Him by obeying His Word (Bible), being with other Christians, and praying to Jesus.  In Romans 6:16 it says " You can choose sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God and receive His approval."

   We don't have to let our past mistakes ruin our future. We can choose today to turn from that and to walk on the narrow road.  Choosing to make right choices and walk with God can be very difficult or easier, depending on who you hang out with. Are we going to choose to hang out with people that drag us down, convincing us to do stuff that we know is wrong? Or, are we going to spend time with those who will encourage us to do what is right?

I just don't understand, what's so bad with drinking?

The laws in our land require a person to be 21 to drink legally, right? Thus, if you drink under 21 you are guilty of breaking the law.

The apostle Paul said: "Obey the government, for God is the one who put it there. (Romans 13:1) Paul did not say government is divine, and neither did I, have I, or will I in any instance. He simply said to obey. Even more, "So those who refuse to obey the laws of the land are refusing to obey God, and punishment will follow." (Romans 13:2) Notice that refusing to obey the law is refusing to obey God Himself. This is the act of being submissive and under authority. Indeed, my submission to authorities demonstrates that I am submissive to God.

The apostle Peter wrote: "Fear God and honor the Government." (1 Peter 2:17) Honoring the government is not that we agree and find that the government is divine, only that we desire to obey and fear God. Even more:"For the Lords sake, obey every law of your government." (1 Peter 2:13) Here again, Peter testifies to what Paul wrote, we obey the law to obey God. And again, Peter did not say government is divine and we should agree with them, only to obey.

Finally, perhaps the greatest example of submission to authority is the author and finisher of our faith, Jesus Christ. An example of this is found in the book of Matthew, chapter 22. A few religious people came to Jesus and asked Him, "Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?" They were asking Jesus, "should we obey Caesar?" Caesar was essentially the Roman Emperor and thus the government. The law of the land was to pay taxes to the Roman government, and it is right to point out that the Roman government was an abusive, exploitive and unjust government in many ways (much like Nazi Germany, Darfur, etc) How would Jesus respond to even an ungodly government? Jesus pointed to a Roman coin and asked "Whose picture and title are stamped on this coin?" They responded, "Caesar's". Jesus then said, "Well then, give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar..." (Matthew 22:21) In other words, Jesus said "Obey the Government." Again, even though the Roman government was an oppressive government, Jesus Christ responded with the necessity of obedience and submission to government.

There really is no greater example of submission than Jesus' death on the cross, for it was the Roman Government who put him to death. The Bible says in Matthew 27:26 that Pilate, the Roman Governor, "Ordered Jesus flogged with a lead-tipped whip and turned Him (Jesus) over to the Roman soldiers to be crucified." Jesus, being God, could have ordered angels to save Him, He could have argued , He could have run, He could have rebelled, He could have even changed the whole situation with the the snap of His fingers, but instead "...Jesus made no response to any of the charges." (Matthew 27:14) Jesus submitted to the government even though the government falsely accused Him, falsely charged Him and ultimately falsely murdered Him. Why did Jesus do this? Philippians 2:7 "He gave up His divine privileges...He humbled Himself in obedience to God and died a criminal's death on the cross."

Paul, Peter and Jesus Christ Himself humbled themselves in obedience to the government, not for the sake of the government, but because they knew that submission to the government was in fact submission to God. "He humbled Himself in obedience to God..."

I hope this helps, I would love to talk with you more about it. Email me anytime! Becca@toddbecker.org

I have a drinking problem, how can I break this habit?

Thank you for taking the time to write and share your story and struggles with us. We are so grateful that you had the courage to share with us your situation and how our assembly has impacted you.

The main question I read from what you wrote is that you have given your life to Jesus Christ (God) and you want to grow closer to Him, but you feel that drinking is keeping you from doing that.

I want to share with you a few practical steps to draw closer to God.

1). Read God's Word (the Bible) every day. When you go to bed or wake up, read God's word and let Him speak to you. This is part of a relationship with God - letting Him speak to you through His word. If you don't have a Bible that you can read and understand well, please let me know and I will ship you one free.

2). Once you're done reading the Bible, pray to God. Ask Him to teach you things from what you just read and for Him to give you the power and desire to put into practice what you just read. Prayer is your way of talking to God - another part of a relationship with God. You can pray to God with your eyes open, walking down the street, in school - wherever you are at, you can pray to God.

3). The third thing that will help you grow closer to God is to turn from all sin in your life. The Bible says in Isaiah 59:2 "But there is a problem; your sins have cut you off from God." Simply put, sin separates us from God; when we knowingly are living in sin, we are distant from God. Ask God to show you any sin in your life that is keeping you from Him and then ask Him to give you the power and strength to turn from it.

I hope these three things help you! Hebrews 11:6 says that "God rewards those who sincerely seek Him." I am excited for you because it really seems like you sincerely want to know Christ more and follow Him. And He will reward you as you seek Him!

Let me know if I can help in any other way. My email is Becca@toddbecker.org

My dad is an alcoholic, how can I help him stop?

I am so glad that you asked that question. I am so sorry to hear about the situation with your dad, because I am sure it is also very hard on you.

The best thing you can do is to pray for your dad faithfully. I know this seems like it is an obvious answer, but prayer is the only thing that changes people's hearts. We can't change their heart or their behavior...we have to pray that they will open their hearts up to God. Your dad will then have to choose to allow God to have complete control of his life, and ask God to help Him change.

The second thing I want to encourage you, is to possibly write him a letter - not preaching to him that he should stop, since he may not receive it from you as his child. Rather, I would encourage you to tell him how it makes you feel when he drinks and behaves in frightening ways to you. I would write a very loving letter, telling him that you love and care for him, and be honest, telling him how it makes you feel when he becomes drunk. I would only give it to him when he is sober.

The next thing that I want to encourage you to do is to talk to a pastor, school counselor or youth group leader about how you are dealing with this. It is so important to have the support of other people locally - people that you can trust - that will encourage you and watch out for you emotionally.

Even when you feel let down by your Dad, Jesus deeply cares about you. Call out to Jesus. He wants to be your Father in heaven that will never leave you or forsake you...but you have to ask Him to be your Father, and turn from going your own way. I want to share a verse with you:

Psalm 27:10 "Even if my father and mother abandon me, the Lord will take care of me."

Remember this, Jesus cares for you so deeply! 1 Peter 5:7 "Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you."

Please feel free to email me anytime. I would love to talk with you more. My email is Becca@toddbecker.org

Relationships

How do I deal with a bad habit of lying?

I know personally I struggled with this same problem growing up. So I can relate a little bit. But I want you to take a step back and examine why you are continually doing things you know you shouldn't. In Romans Paul explains this very thing you're struggling with: sin. 
"I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate. But if I know that what I am doing is wrong, this shows that I agree that the law is good. So I am not the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it. And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it." (Romans‬ ‭7:15-20‬ )
I want you to know the problem isn't your parents, or your friends, or anyone else's. The problem is you're choosing to disobey not only the voice of your parents, but also the voice of the Holy Spirit. I say Holy Spirit with the assumption that you have a relationship with God. And when I say relationship, I mean you have made a commitment to make Jesus the ruler of your life. So with that being said, I want you to examine your faith is it genuine? Or is it based off of your parents foundation? In 2 Corinthians 3:15 it says "Examine yourselves to see if your faith is genuine. Test yourselves. Surely you know that Jesus Christ is among you; if not, you have failed the test of genuine faith."

It is important to examine yourself carefully in order to be able to grow in this area you are lacking. You mentioned getting continuously lectured. That is just a small consequence of your sin. I know being lectured feels terrible, and it is by no means a good feeling. I understand this. However there is a way to avoid the consequences. And there is a way to avoid the temptation to lie or disobey your parents. And it is first to listen to the voice telling you no. Jesus said he would give us all a way out of temptation.
"The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure." (‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭10:13‬)

So, there are three questions I want you to ask yourself. And if you're willing to grow more towards Christ likeness then answer them honestly and dig into Gods word to learn how to combat sin.
1. Do you have a genuine relationship with God.
2. Do you love your sin more than you love God.
3. Are you willing to turn from that sin, repent of it, and turn towards Jesus?

Thanks for reaching out! I hope this helps and if you have any more questions feel free to contact me anytime at

shaina@toddbecker.org

Is being gay a choice?

I want to start by saying that obviously there has been a lot of debate about this question wether within the Christian faith or outside of the faith, but let me answer that question by answering another.

“Is homosexuality a sin?”

The reason I skip to this question is because the debate of homosexuality being something we are born with or something we choose is made void by answering this question.

Let me draw a comparison for you - If someone is born with a tendency to lust after the opposite sex (which is a very common struggle) the Bible calls that a sin.

Galatians 5:19-21 says this:

When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.

Whether we are born with a tendency to desire same sex relationships or we are born with a tendency towards anger or envy the fact still remains that it's a sin and it will separate us from God.

So to refer back to your question - 'Is being gay a choice?'

Here are a couple verses for you -
1 Corinthians 6:9 - “Don't you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don't fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitues, or practice homosexuality or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people - none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God.”

1 Timothy 1:8-10 - “We know that the law is good when used correctly. For the law was not intended for people who do what is right. It is for people who are lawless and rebellious, who are ungodly and sinful, who consider nothing sacred and defile what is holy, who kill their father or mother or commit other murders. The law is for people who are sexually immoral, or who practice homosexuality, or are slave traders, liars, promise breakers, or who do anything else that contradicts wholesome teaching. ”

All sin is a choice.

God has given us free will and through that we have choices everyday as to wether we will live in a way that pleases Him or live in a way that pushes us away from Him - it's all our decision.

The bottom line, however is that no matter what we've done - Jesus has paid the price and the penalty for our sin. He was whipped, beaten, mocked and hung on a cross to take the punishment for our sins. If we will run from our sin and turn to Him and accept the gift that He has freely offered He gives us the power of the Holy Spirit to flee and turn from sins like these.

Romans 8: 11 - “The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.”

I hope this makes sense and hopefully answers your question.

If you are still unclear please feel free to email me at Aaron@toddbecker.org

My friend is in a bad relationship, how can I help them?

Original question:
I am worried about one of my friends, in the same grade (highschool) as me. Yes, I am a guy, and she is a girl, but we are just, (and only will be) good friends. She has gotten into several bad relationships lately. She is a Christian, as am I, but doesn't seem to realize that she is in trouble until too late. Her last boyfriend drank alot, almost every weekend, and often tried to get her to compromise to his standards. She has broken up with him, but has started with another guy who I know is going downhill, fast. I have been figuring it's not my place, that I can't help, that it's her life, but lately I'm really concerned about her. She's getting more and more depressed, and is ruined by every little event that goes on. It may sound like normal teenager mood swings and all, but it's growing more and more constant. Anything I can do???

Our response:
It encourages me that you are not sitting back just watching someone go through a hard time, but that you are actually wanting to help them.  The Bible talks about how we as Christians,  have a responsiblity to challenge and help those around us. It talks about the church (Christians) as a body, and if one part of it, (for example, an arm)  is suffering, the whole body suffers.

It is important to realize, however, that you have to use wisdom in this situation since you are dealing with the opposite gender.  Things can get confused very quickly when you are trying to help the opposite gender by yourself. This is why I encourage you to not get too personally involved in trying to help her, but instead encourage her to talk to a woman who loves God and could help her through some of her situations.  

There are some things you can and should do as her friend, however.  As a guy, you know some things about other guys in the school that she may not know.  I encourage you to go to her as a friend, and express your concern for her safety, whether that be spiritual, emotional, or physical.  Share with her 2 Cor.  6:14, which says "Don't team up with those who are unbelievers. How can righteousness be a partner with wickedness? How can light live with darkness?"  In other words, if we are Christians, we have no business dating or being in close relationships with those who are not following Christ.  There is a difference between being friendly and being close friends.  We need to avoid close relationships that can and will tear us down.  

As to her depressed state right now, I challenge you to just point her to Jesus.  He is the only One that brings true joy.  Everything else on earth will disappoint us, hurt us, and depress us.  In Psalm 4:8 it states: "I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you ALONE, O LORD, make me dwell in safety."  The verse before that says: "You (God) have filled my heart with greater joy."  

Again, be careful how much you, as the opposite gender, get involved, instead, I would just encourage her briefly on those three points: 1) Talk to a Christian woman.  2) Don't date or be close to those who will tear you down.   3) Only God can bring true joy.

I hope that helps you in your situation. If you have any more questions or would like to visit more, please feel free to email me! Andrew@toddbecker.org

How can I deal with someone trying to convince me to do things that I know are wrong?

Thank you for posting. I am so encouraged to hear that you want to take your relationship with God seriously! And I am glad that you are trying to keep high standards for yourself. As followers of Christ, He has called us to live a life that honors and pleases Him, so it's very important!

I am sorry that you are experiencing such pressure from this young man you are talking about, but I want to encourage you to be strong and not let your guard or your standards down. No one can make you do anything unless you let them, and your choice should be to please God rather than anyone else. Simply keep refusing to do what this boy wants you to do.

Ephesians 5:7 says "Don't participate in the things these people do."

And Ephesians 5:1-4 says "Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are His dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us, and offered Himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God. Let there be no sexual immorality, impurity, or greed among you. Such sins have no place among God's people."

Also, 2 Corinthians 6:14 talks about being careful with the kind of people that we associate with. "Don't team up with those who are unbelievers. how can righteousness be a partner with wickedness? How can light live with darkness? What harmony can there be between Christ and the devil? How can a believer be a partner with an unbeliever?"

If you are trying to follow Jesus, you can't choose friends (or boyfriends) who are not following Jesus too and would drag you down the wrong path, doing wrong things. Don't lead this boy on, or let him think he can get what he is wanting by repeatedly asking. Be sure that he knows what your standards are, and that you aren't going to budge. Going out with him for any reason would be a dangerous step in the wrong direction.

If you truly want to be left alone, you can find a way to make that clear to him.

If you would like to talk more, feel free to email me! Chris@toddbecker.org

I'm so sick of my parents control, what can I do?

First of all, what you are going through is not unusual.  Many teens go through this with their parents as well.  There is a "generation gap" that many times feels like parents don't understand our world.  However,  our parents were once teenagers as well.  This means that even though we live in a vastly different world than our parents did, they still dealt with the same things we deal with today (this took me until I was in my 20s to learn). 
 
  Ecclesiastes 1:9 says "That which has been, is what will be, That which is done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun."  
 
  This means that things such as sexual temptation, drunkedness, grades, and life in general are very much the same.  The difference is that your parents have a different perspective than you do.  They have lived through it, meaning they are now old enough to see the consequences or benefits of their actions. 
 
         The teenage years can be some of the hardest years dealing with parents because we are becoming adults.  This means that parental advice is sometimes taken as "preaching."  But, we must understand that our parents only want the best for us.  We also must understand that the Bible says to always respect and honor our parents.  Colossions 3:20 says "obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord."  It may not always be easy, espcecially when we feel attacked or belittled.  However, God says that He will bless us when we respect what our parents say with an open understanding that they probably experienced to some degree what I was going through too.  You don't always have to agree, but it is important to show them respect.  Hang in there, I am 25 soon to be 26 and my parents still do things that anger me, but we must still show them the respect and honor they deserve.  Thank you so much for your question.

Please feel free to email me anytime. I would love to talk with you more. My email is Becca@toddbecker.org

My friend is doing bad things with guys, how can I help her?

Thanks for your blog question and thanks especially for caring about your friend.  You're in a tough position because, as you have stated, you have done everything you think you can to get her to realize that the decisions she is making online are not good. 

  I think the only thing you can do is to still be a friend to this person but more and more distance yourself from her actions and remain firm that you do not find favor in this and that you believe it is very dangerous.  What I mean by this is that you should not be around, with or even laugh or discuss the conversations/experiences she is having online.  To me, this tells her that you care for her and are a friend, but that you will not support her behavior.  I think that we support peoples destructive decisions when we, for instance, "go to the party with them but don't drink", or sit back on the couch and talk to our friend while they look at inappropriate web sites.  

Remember, Proverbs 4:23 says "Above all else, guard your heart, for it affects everything you do."  I think this applies both to your friend and to you - guard your heart.

Please feel free to email me anytime if you have any questions! Kirsten@toddbecker.org

Why is it people pull me into things I know I don't want to do?

Saying no is probably one of the hardest things to do in life. When it seems like the only fun thing to do on the weekend is go to that party, when your girlfriend or boyfriend wants to be involved sexually, the list goes on and on…. But there is a way to say no, as hard as it is. You can say no by the power that Jesus Christ gives you.

The bible says in Romans 6:12-14 "Do not let sin control the way you live, do not give in to sinful desires. Do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin. Instead, give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have new life. So use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God. Sin is no longer you master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God's grace."

If you live in God's grace, found through Jesus Christ alone, you have the strength to say no when those tempting times come up. God's word says in Romans 6:6 "We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin." The bible also says this in 1 Corinthians 10:13 "No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape."

When we belong to Jesus Christ, he gives us the strength to say no to sin when it tries to tempt us. To belong to Christ, we must simply understand that we are sinful and destined for a place called hell when we die because we have broken God's laws. But God sent his son Jesus to live a perfect, sinless life here on earth. He became the sacrifice to pay for our sin by dying on the cross, then conquered sin and the grave by rising from the dead. We must believe this, repent (turn away) from our sin and live our lives following Jesus. In him alone lies the power to say no to sin.

Should I be hiding things from my friends and family?

Thank you for your question. The only thing I can say right now is that healthy relationships with close friends and family are more important than anything, besides Jesus of course. And communication, trust, and honesty are so important within family and valued friendships. If you feel bad about not telling them then you're hiding it, and that's not being honest. Your honesty should also let them trust you more and give them reason to confide in you with their honesty in the future. But also, it might depend on the situation with how you tell them. In any situation, I would encourage you to be honest with everyone, and especially those you love.

If you would like to talk more, please email me! Emily@toddbecker.org

Sex & Dating

Is it a sin to touch your boyfriend / girlfriend?

Question:

Am I a sinner if I have touched my boyfriend but haven't had sex with him?

Response:

To Anonymous who wonders if she's a sinner for touching her boyfriend,

First, I want to commend you for seeking an answer for your question.  I know asking tough questions can be difficult, and I want to encourage you to always ask your questions because that's how you will learn in life.

Now to address your question, is it a sin to touch your boyfriend if you don't have sex with him?  To answer this, I'd like to look at the what God tells us in His word, the Bible.  In Galations 5:19, there's a list of things we do when we follow our sinful nature.  It reads, "When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures."  That list goes on for a couple verses, but I'd like to focus on these three actions listed first.  Sexual immorality and impurity are very broad topics that we mostly apply to sex before marriage, but they also include having impure thoughts toward someone else and acting on those thoughts.  Lustful pleasures is more specific and applies directly to your question.  When you touch your boyfriend, you are trying to satisfy your sexual temptation, your lust, toward your boyfriend.  We see here that lustful pleasures is listed as a sin, and because of it, we see in verse 21 that you can't inherit the kingdom of God.  So, to answer you question, it is a sin to touch you boyfriend, even if you don't have sex with him.

If we dig more into what the Bible say on this topic, we find 1 Corinthians 6:18.  This verse tells us to, "run from sexual sin!  No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does.  For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body."  From this verse, you can see why sexual immorality is so bad, because it affects your own body, and you are told what to do about it.  You need to run from it.

How do you do that?  The first step is to confess your sin to God.  1 John 1:9 says, "But if we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness."  If we confess our sin, we can trust that God will forgive us for it and help us turn from it.  Philippians 2:13 tells us, "For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases Him."  Ask God for the desire and power to turn from your sexual sin, and you can be sure He will provide it.  

The next step is to recognize sexual influences that encourage your temptation.  This may be music you listen to, movies you watch, profiles you follow on social media, friends, or even your boyfriend.  In order for God to give you the desire to turn from your sexual sin, you must get rid of things that fuel your desire for sex.  Now, this might mean having a serious conversation with your boyfriend, possibly breaking up with him, I don't know.  You will need to pray and ask God to show you what you need to do. 

Lastly, ask for help!  Go to a trusted Christian adult and tell them your situation.  Ask them to pray with you as you figure out what the next steps are. James 5:16 says, "Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.  The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results."  With another person walking you through this, you will have encouragement and prayer to help you take the next steps. 

I will pray for you as well, that God clearly shows you what you need to do next!  If you have any more questions, or need any encouragement, please email me at



jessica@toddbecker.org

How can I want to be so close to God, yet still cannot overcome pornography?

Question:

I am addicted to porn. I don't know why because deep down I know what is going on is wrong and it is desensitizing me, but I just can't stop. What should I do? How can I want to be so close to God and yet still cannot overcome this disgusting habit?

Response:

To anonymous addicted to pornography:

First I want to commend you for your honesty. Man, pornography is such a real battle and it's definitely not an easy one. You are on the right track though in admitting it and seeking help. 

You said "How can I be so close to God and yet still cannot overcome this disgusting habit?"

I really want to address this because its a tough statement. 

It sounds like you have a basic (at least) grasp of the Gospel, but I will touch on it briefly just in case. Our sin, for example like pornography, lust, sexual immorality (Galatians 5:19-21, Matthew 5:27-30) has condemned us to Hell. We have no way to work ourselves out of God's anger at our sin on our own. Because God knew that we didn't have the power on our own to turn away from sin and because He loves us so much, He sent Jesus to pay the price that we could not and will never be able to pay for our sins. Romans 6:23 says that "the wages" - (what we've earned) of our sin is death - a spiritual death meaning separation from God which is Hell. The verse goes on and says that "but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord." We have a gift that has been given to us and if we choose to receive it, by putting our faith and trust in Jesus Christ and if we make Him the Lord - the ruler, boss, in control - of our life, the Bible promises eternal life with Jesus in Heaven. 

Because of the fact that you mentioned that you are close to God, in my answer, I will assume that you have done this and put your faith and trust in Jesus. 

In Romans 8 verse 5 the Bible says "Those who are dominated by the sinful nature (our natural tendencies to disobey God) think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit." 

It sounds like your life right now is dominated by pornography and that your mind is probably filled with the thoughts, temptations and lusts of pornography. The verse says, though, that when you are controlled by the Spirit of God, you are going to think about things that are pleasing to God. How do you become controlled by the Spirit? If we skip down to verse 9, it says "...You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you." 

When you trusted in Christ, you didn't only trust Him for salvation, you trusted Him to give you the power to do what pleases Him and Philippians 2:12, 13 says, "...Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him."

If you were on a flight and the pilot told you that at any time you would be jumping out of the plane because the engines had failed and you were going to crash, you wouldn't just set the parachute in your lap and hope that it saved you, would you? OF COURSE NOT! You would strap that thing on as quickly and tightly as you could not even worrying about if it was "comfortable" or not, because you KNOW that the parachute would save your life. 

The same should be true with Jesus. Because of our sin, our plane is going to crash. It might sound cheesy, but in this scenario, Jesus is our parachute. With Him, we will live, without Him, we will surely die. So we need to take Him very seriously.

Pornography is a very tough battle.

God knows it's tough and so he tells us - "Run from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does. " - 1 Cor 6:18. Sexual sin is the only sin that God tells us to run from!

He takes it very seriously too - "You have heard the commandment that says, 'You must not commit adultery.' But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. So if your eye-even your good eye-causes you to lust, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell." - Matthew 5:27-29

When you read these verses together, God is very clear that sexual immorality and lust (pornography) is not to be messed with. We are to be Holy as God is Holy. 

So in summary, I will say this: We are told in the Bible to run from things like pornography, yet we keep access directly to it in our pockets everyday. Jesus said to gouge out your eye if it causes you to sin, yet we are unwilling to change the way we live our life, because we want to have access to our social media. Could it be that if we really wanted to change we would seriously consider things like a 'dumb phone' or at the very least, accountabilty software? 

We cannot be close to God AND be controlled by sin. 

I encourage you to read Romans 6:12-18 and 1 John 3:7-10 on your own. They are very strong verses but as a believer they can be very encouraging and motivating. 

I know that I gave you a lot to think about and hopefully it makes sense. If you have any questions or want to continue this discussion, please feel free to email me at aaron@toddbecker.org

I keep going back to pornography, will the Lord still accept me?

Question:

How do I break an addiction to porn? I want to stop, and I know I need to. But every time I go back to it it makes me feel like the Lord won’t accept me. What do I do?

Response:

To anonymous addicted to pornography:

Thank you so much for reaching out! That is very brave sharing what you are struggling with. You seem sorry for your sin of pornography and like you want to change your ways. That is great!

You mentioned that you feel like God won't accept you. That is true if you continue to live in this sin of pornography. In 1 Corinthians 6:9 it says "Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who INDULGE in SEXUAL SIN, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people—NONE of these will inherit the KINGDOM OF GOD." So what it's saying here is that if you continue to indulge in and make a practice of pornography you will not go to heaven.

BUT THERE IS HOPE!!!! Jesus came to die for our sins and free us from the punishment we all deserve in hell. In Titus 3:3-5 it says, "Once we, too, were foolish and disobedient. We were misled and became slaves to many lusts and pleasures. Our lives were full of evil and envy, and we hated each other. But— When God our Savior revealed his kindness and love, he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit." Jesus loved you so much that He came and took your sin of pornography on Himself and died a painful death so that you can be accepted by God.

SO HOW DO YOU BREAK THIS ADDICTION? THROUGH JESUS!!!! In John 1:12 it says, "But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God." You have to truly accept the gift God gave you. You have to truly believe and trust in Jesus and what He has done for you. You have to be truly sorry for your sins and willing to change....which you are! In Romans 10:9 it says, "If you openly declare that Jesus is LORD and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." You need to make Jesus the Lord (ruler) of your life and let Him be in charge. If you really believe this, tell God these things!

If you let Jesus in, He will free you from pornography and make you right before Him. In 2 Corinthians 3:17 it says, "For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is FREEDOM!!!" You can be confident that you can be free in Christ! He has freed many other people from pornography and He can free you!

If you have any more questions, please email me at Kendra@toddbecker.org

Should I give in to my boyfriend's pressure to have sex & party?

I am glad you took the time to ask this question. I have a feeling that you know the right answer in your heart, and I am happy to talk with you about it through this blog, and if you have more questions, through email.

First of all, partying at all and having sex outside of marriage is wrong...no matter who is pressuring you to do it. Sometimes we think that if a certain person is asking us to do it, then it must be ok. But, that never makes it right.

You must stand firm with your boyfriend and be clear about your standards. I know it is not easy, but I want to share some Bible verses to encourage you in it. I have never known girls that have regretted standing strong and saying no to sin. But I have known soooo many girls that have regretted saying yes to sin. You will never regret doing what's right.

James 4:17 says: So when you know the good things you should do and don't do them, you sin.

God will give you the strength to say no to sin. But you have to have a relationship with Jesus so that you can tap into the power that He has ready for you. I encourage you to read the first five chapters of the "I Know" book...it will tell you more about this. (You can order the book for free on this website if you don't have it yet.) I would also love to talk with you about beginning a relationship with Jesus...you can email me anytime!

All of us are tempted every day to sin. Many of us are tempted more than we need to be because we put ourselves in situations that tempt us, such as being alone for a long time with our boyfriend, hanging out with friends who party, etc. God says that He will give you what you need to say no to sin... but it is also foolish of us to put ourselves around those who sin and expect to not sin ourselves. You have to get to know Jesus to have this power to say no to sin every day.

1 Corinthians 10;13 You are tempted in the same way all other human beings are. God is faithful. He will not let you be tempted any more than you can take. But when you are tempted, God will give you a way out so that you can stand up under it.

If we persevere...keep going...and grow stronger in our walk with Jesus, we have a crown of life waiting for us in heaven!

James 1:12 Blessed is the man who keeps on going when times are hard. After he has come through them, he will receive a crown. The crown is life itself. God has promised it to those who love him.

Finally, it is important not to be in close relationships (hanging out often) with those who are going in an opposite direction than us...away from God. This also includes boyfriend/girlfriend relationships.

2 Corinthians 6:14 says: Do not be joined to unbelievers. What do right and wrong have in common? Can light and darkness be friends?

I know this is all hard to read, but I want to be truthful with you, and say that if you choose to follow Jesus in every area of your life, it will not be easy, but it is the only way to heaven, the only way to true life.

I would love to talk with you more. Please feel free to email me anytime at Becca@toddbecker.org

How can I regain my sexual purity after messing up?

Thank you so much for your willingness to admit that what you are doing is not right, and also asking for help. Sexual temptation can seem like it's impossible to overcome, and it is…on your own at least. The Bible talks about sexual temptation many times, and by looking at them, we can see the dangers of giving into these kind of sinful pleasures. Here are just a few:

1 Corinthians 6:18 Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.

1 Thessalonians 4:3-5 For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God;

Colossians 3:5 Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.

As you can see, God takes sexual immorality very seriously. So, the first thing I would encourage you to do is to simply stop having sex. That can sound like a hard thing to do, but there are things you can do to help. Don't be alone with that person, try to only hang out when you are either in a public place, or when your parents are home. Having privacy in a relationship is important to develop the bond between you, but you can have privacy in public places such as at the park, at a restaurant…etc. Just try to avoid those situations where you would be tempted to pursue sex.

Trying to overcome the temptation to pursue sex by implementing practical measures like I mentioned above is important…but trying these things without God's help is going to prove almost impossible. God can free you from the sexual immorality that the two of you are finding yourself in. God sent his son Jesus Christ to pay the penalty for the sins that you and I have committed. We deserve eternity in Hell when we die, but God loved us so much that he paid for our sin through Jesus on the cross. God's word says in 1 John 1:9 "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." You must trust in Christ to be saved and delivered from the penalty for your sin. The only way you will ever overcome the desire to sin is through Jesus. I encourage you both to talk to your pastor or youth leader about what is going on between the two of you. They can help you in ways that I cannot.

Is being gay a choice?

I want to start by saying that obviously there has been a lot of debate about this question wether within the Christian faith or outside of the faith, but let me answer that question by answering another.

“Is homosexuality a sin?”

The reason I skip to this question is because the debate of homosexuality being something we are born with or something we choose is made void by answering this question.

Let me draw a comparison for you - If someone is born with a tendency to lust after the opposite sex (which is a very common struggle) the Bible calls that a sin.

Galatians 5:19-21 says this:

When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.

Whether we are born with a tendency to desire same sex relationships or we are born with a tendency towards anger or envy the fact still remains that it's a sin and it will separate us from God.

So to refer back to your question - 'Is being gay a choice?'

Here are a couple verses for you -
1 Corinthians 6:9 - “Don't you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don't fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitues, or practice homosexuality or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people - none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God.”

1 Timothy 1:8-10 - “We know that the law is good when used correctly. For the law was not intended for people who do what is right. It is for people who are lawless and rebellious, who are ungodly and sinful, who consider nothing sacred and defile what is holy, who kill their father or mother or commit other murders. The law is for people who are sexually immoral, or who practice homosexuality, or are slave traders, liars, promise breakers, or who do anything else that contradicts wholesome teaching. ”

All sin is a choice.

God has given us free will and through that we have choices everyday as to wether we will live in a way that pleases Him or live in a way that pushes us away from Him - it's all our decision.

The bottom line, however is that no matter what we've done - Jesus has paid the price and the penalty for our sin. He was whipped, beaten, mocked and hung on a cross to take the punishment for our sins. If we will run from our sin and turn to Him and accept the gift that He has freely offered He gives us the power of the Holy Spirit to flee and turn from sins like these.

Romans 8: 11 - “The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.”

I hope this makes sense and hopefully answers your question.

If you are still unclear please feel free to email me at Aaron@toddbecker.org

What does the bible say about resisting temptation?

Thanks for your question. If we know Christ as Lord and Savior, we will be tempted and tested by Satan. Spiritual warefare is a part of livivng for Christ, while on earth. Ephesians 6 says it great:

"Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."

Because we will face spiritual battles and temptation, we must be ready to combat it. The rest of Epehesians 6 lets us know how we can fight those temptations:

"Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God."

There are a lot of great weapons of defense in this passage to battle temptation, however I want to talk about the attack weapon in the last verse. The verse instructs us to use the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God.

Let's see how Jesus responded to Satan's tactics. In Matthew 4, Jesus is being tempted by the devil. I would encourage you to read that chapter. What you will find is that Jesus uses scripture to combat the devil on every scheme he comes up with. That is what we must do in our own lives.

This means that we need to have time set aside each day to spend with God reading the Bible. We need to be growing in our relationship with Christ, so we can be stronger in the attacks of the devil.

I would love to talk more about this with you if you would like, my email is Chris@toddbecker.org

Am I going to Hell for having sex before marriage?

Thank you so much for your question. I know that relationships can be a difficult thing to keep pure, especially when you are already in love, and even more so if you are already engaged physically. The Bible does say not to have sex before marriage, but why? God doesn't make rules to keep us from having fun, he makes rules like this one to keep us safe and allow us to have the best. He gives us his ultimate wisdom on what's best for us.

It is okay if you have already had sex outside of marriage. Jesus died to forgive us of our sins, and he can make you a new virgin. However, we need to keep in mind that when we decide to follow Jesus and make him the Lord of our life, we will follow his advice and TURN from our sins. The outcome of heaven or hell depends on how we respond:

Romans 6:1 says, "Shall we continue sinning so God can show us more grace? Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it?" And Romans chapter 2 says, V4-8 "Don't you see how wonderfully kind, patient, and tolerant God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can't you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from you sin? But because you are stubborn and refuse to turn from your sin, you are storing up terrible punishment for yourself. For a day of anger is coming, when God's righteous judgment will be revealed. He will judge everyone according to what they have done. He will give eternal life to those who keep on doing good, seeking after the glory and honor and immortality that God offers. But he will pour out his anger and wrath on those who live for themselves, who refuse to obey the truth and instead live lives of wickedness."

You see, Jesus will forgive us of sex before marriage just like any other sin. But only if we decide to turn from it and don't do that anymore. This is very difficult and will test the true value in the relationship. If your boy/girlfriend really cares about you, they should not only respect your choice, but also care enough about your eternal salvation to support it and never pressure you. I would hope that for you if this is your case. If not, I would hope that you will be strong enough to stand up for Jesus and yourself to stop it no matter what the cost. We were made to live for God, not to live for ourselves or our boy/girlfriends.

To get to heaven we must accept the blood of Christ. To accept the blood, we must follow him. To follow Jesus, we must turn from our sins. Easier said than done, I know, but that's what makes it worth it.

The book of Romans is very simple and clear about what it means to live for Christ. I would encourage you to read it the next couple of weeks in your bible.

My boyfriend isn't a Christian, is that okay?

Thanks for your honesty.  If you are a Christian, it is important that the person you date/marry is a Christian. In the Bible, in 2 Corinthians, it gives a command to Christians to "not be unequally yoked with unbelievers."  Basically this is saying that it's not good for a Christian to be in a romantic relationship with someone who is not a Christian.  There are many reasons why this is true, one being that if you are a follower of Christ you have different values than someone who isn't.  If you are a Christian, you should be longing to follow after God's will, acting in obedience to Him, and seeking truth in His Word.  However, someone who hasn't accepted Christ, does not have the same mind set.  They haven't yet made Jesus Lord of their life, so their eyes are not fixed on God, Jesus, or the Bible, therefore giving them different motives.  For a Christian to be in a dating/marriage relationship with a non-Christian is a scary thing, because more than likely the non-Christian will end up influencing the Christian with their ungodly motives, rather than the other way around.  You cannot change your boyfriend.  Only God can draw him to Himself and change your boyfriend's heart.  So, if you are a Christian and he is not, it would be best for the relationship to end as soon as possible to avoid any further temptation or your boyfriend coming between you and God.  I realize this is easier said than done, and that you probably have a strong emotional attachment to your boyfriend.  However, please don't let your attachment to him get in the way of your morals and God's will for you.  I don't mean to sound too harsh or condescending, my intent is to help you avoid potential discouragement, heartache, or pain.  Get to know God through His Word and prayer.  His love for you far exceeds any love that an earthly man could give you.

Please feel free to email me anytime if you'd like to talk more. Emily@toddbecker.org

I'm still a virgin, but I want love. What should I do?

Thank you for taking the time to post a blog. I hope that my answer can be of help to you.   First of all, everyone is looking for love. Many of us can often find ourselves looking for love in the wrong places.  Looking for love in all the wrong places can lead to pain, regret and everlasting consequences.  

I am sure you have heard of the phrase "God is Love," and it is easy for us not to understand what it really means.  Jesus is the only One who loves completely.  Human love can fail, as you know.  The only love that will never fail us is Jesus' love for us. John 14:23 says: "Jesus replied, 'All who love me will do what I say. My Father (God) will love them, and we will come and make our home with each of them.'"  This verse shows that as we give our lives to Christ, choose to love and obey HIm, He will pour out HIs love on us and stay with us always.

Jesus' love is the only kind that lasts, and one that will leave you with no regrets.

I encourage you to focus on growing in Jesus, and talking to HIm and telling Him how you feel when you feel unloved. He is the only One who can really comfort you.  I also encourage you to not go for guys right now to show you love.  Instead, be content with just friendships with them.  Develop good friendships with girls, who will encourage you when you feel down. 

Please feel free to email me anytime if you have any questions! Kirsten@toddbecker.org

Abuse

I hate my life and I don't know how to change that. What should I do?

Question:

I don't fit in and most of the time I just want to hurt myself so bad that I wish I could die from pain. I hate my life and I want to die right now. But then again I know if I do I will be hurting people that care about me, but there isn't that many people who would care or even notice that I was dead. I hate my life and I don't know how to change that. What should I do?

Response:

to anonymous contemplating suicide,


first off I'm sorrry about this feeling of not having any options other than to end your life that is a terrible feeling. i want you to know clearly that suicide is not the best option. There is hope and meaning to your life there is a way to get out of this rut in life that you just cant seem to get out of. 


The meaning of life and finding our purpose can be found in the Bible, and this might seem like a long answer, but please read on. Just know that these things I am telling you will help you to understand what the ultimate meaning of life is. 

If you haven't ever heard of Adam and Eve, the first man and first woman, I will tell you about them briefly. God created them to live on earth and worship Him and take care of the earth. Soon after they were created, however, they disobeyed God and ate fruit from a tree that He had instructed them not to eat from (Genesis Chapter 3). This disobedience is called sin. Sin separates man and woman from God. We today have this same "original sin" as it is called, and are no longer holy in God's eyes (Romans 5:12-21). The problem with this sin is that we can no longer spend eternity with God because of this separation. God requires us to be holy as He is holy (1 Peter 15-16). In fact, God's word says that because of our sin, after we die we are destined for an eternity in hell (Romans 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death…" and 2 Peter 2:4). 

I know by now you might be asking yourself "What does this have to do with the meaning of life?" Just hold on, keep reading, and let me explain further. 

This sin issue leaves us helpless on our own, because there is nothing we can do to rid ourselves of sin. If the wages of sin is death as Romans 6:23 says, then we have to pay the penalty for our sin, right? Yes, but there is a way out, keep reading. God's word says in Romans 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord." Jesus Christ came to this earth and died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sin (1 Peter 3:18 "For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God."). Now, this is good stuff, but if you live your life and say, "Awesome, Jesus died for me, I'm good now!" and continue to live your life in sin and rebellion to God, you will not be saved from eternity in hell! God's word says in Romans 6:1-2 "What shall we say then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?" 

The Bible outlines in Romans 10:9-11,13 how one may come to surrender their life to Jesus Christ. I encourage you to read through the scriptures I have mentioned and examine your life. Ask yourself, "Do I have Jesus In my life? Am I following after Jesus?" If not, I would encourage you to surrender your life to Jesus today. 

The reason I have spent so much time on this subject is because that's it. Jesus, He is the meaning in this life. Paul said in Philippians 3:7-9 "But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him..." Our purpose in this life is to glorify and honor God and live our lives surrendered to Him alone. Through Him is found true purpose, direction, meaning, and hope. Nothing in this world will satisfy you, only Jesus can do that. 

God does care for you, He does like you. He sent His son to die on the cross for your sins. Do you understand the depth of love that it would take to sacrifice your own son for someone else to be saved?

There is a reason to live, its not for yourself or a girlfriend or boyfriend or a parent. The reason to live is for Jesus because he is worthy to live for, he paid it all so that you could live a victorious life with God. Trust him with everything and he wont let you down.


Jesus is the way to life!

Please contact me with any questions or concerns you may have at matt@toddbecker.org

How can I deal with being bullied?

To anonymous dealing with bullying::

First of all, I want to say thank you very much for contacting us here, we are very happy to give you the best advice we can, but if you are in an emergency situation, you need to contact someone locally. 

I also want to say that I am so very sorry that you are dealing with all of this, it is definitely not the way that God intended things to be. He loves you very much and wants you to experience the Joy of the Lord even in the hard times. Nehemiah 8:10 says, "...the Joy of the Lord is my strength."

I want to give you some scriptures to look at to see what the Bible says about your situation. 

It sounds like you are in a place right now where you HAVE to depend on God to get you through the next day. God wants you to lean on Him and depend on Him for everything. Proverbs 3:5 says, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding." See, God wants us to trust Him, we won't understand everything in this life. I don't think we were ever meant to understand everything in this life. God wants us to have faith in Him and Hebrews 11:1 says "​Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see."  

There are times in our life that God in His mighty sovereignty (which means His 'ultimate authority') allows things to happen to us so that we will be drawn to Him. In my life, about 10 years ago, my wife had some very complicated health issues while she was pregnant with our second daughter. The doctors had explained to me that the worst possible case scenario was pretty likely to happen - I may not walk out of that hospital with a wife or a daughter. The doctors were basically telling me that they were ready for us to lose my wife and also my daughter.

This all happened within about a span of 3 days. They were fine one day, then 3 days later, they were on the brink of death. Now I know that God didn't cause this to happen, but He did allow it. At the time, I couldn't understand for the life of me why something like this would happen. We had been serving Christ, but He chose not to 'protect' her in this moment. 

Looking back, I can see that God was using this situation to grow me and my wife. See I had grown up in church and my faith had become very stagnant. He brought me to a point where all I could do was trust in Him

I think we all have points in our lives like that. We all will go through something very hard that seems like life won't continue or that we don't want it to continue. We have 2 choices in these situations. We can turn to alcohol, drugs, people, even sleep, video games. Sometimes we just want to get our mind on other things, which may feel right, or fine at the time, but they won't ever help in the long run. The other choice is that we turn to God. 

"Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you." - 1 Peter 5:7

Again, bullying is not something that God wants you to go through, God doesn't want to see you hurting, but remember, this doesn't mean that He will save us from every hurt here on Earth. Romans 8:28 says "And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them." 

That verse brings me to the last thing I want to leave you with. You may have heard this verse before, and we tend to focus on the first part, "God causes everything to work together for good...". This is nice, but it's not the whole verse. It says that He "causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them." God loves all people, but don't get that confused in this verse, not everyone loves God. This is hard to think about sometimes, but we need to know that God is not going to force anyone to love Him and therefore some people will choose not to have His blessings. 

Do you have a relationship with God? Can you look at your life and say that you truly love God? If we played a movie of even the last month of your life, would it reflect that you love God? Please know that I am not asking these questions to condemn you or make you feel bad, but to bring the reality of the fact that if we don't have Christ, we don't have a hope in this life. I really want to encourage you to seek Christ. 

Lamentations 3:24 says, " I say to myself, "The Lord is everything I will ever need. So I will put my hope in him."

If you don't have a relationship with Him, I would love to talk to you about this more, so please feel free to email me at

aaron@toddbecker.org

I have been molested in my past, how can I move on?

Thanks for posting and sharing your struggle with us. I'm so sorry that you had to experience that when you were little, at I'm sorry the dream still bothers you about it.

I just want to speak freedom from that over you, in Jesus name, because I believe that he can totally set you free from the fear of that and completely restore your mind and body. First of all, the dream is just that - only a dream; and 2 Timothy 1:7 says that "God has not given us a spirit of fear...but of power, love, and self-discipline." And Philippians 4:7 says "Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus."

If you haven't already trusted Jesus as your savior, you may not understand what I am saying yet, but if you HAVE trusted Jesus, you need to know that He does not want you to live in fear, always thinking about the past and what has happened to you. Philippians 3:13 says "...I focus on this one thing: forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead." AND "This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone. A new life has begun!" - 2 Corinthians 5:17

God's love for you is so great that he wants you to, first of all, know Him....know His Son Jesus, and secondly to trust Him and trust His word. There are so many verses in the Bible about how He cares for us deeply, and only He can give us true peace and rest. In Hebrews 4:9 it says "So there is a special rest still waiting for the people of God. For all who have entered into God's rest have rested from their labors....so let us do our best to enter that rest."

And John 14:27 "I am leaving you with a gift - peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don't be troubled or afraid."

Some good, comforting verses found in the Psalms are "Lord, you know the hopes of the helpless. You will hear their cries and comfort them. You will bring justice to the orphans and the oppressed so mere people can no longer terrify them."

"Hear my voice, O God....preserve my life from fear of the enemy. Hide me from the secret plots of the wicked."

"Our God is a God who saves."

"I am poor and needy. Come quickly to me, O God. You are my help and my deliverer; O Lord, do not delay. In you, O Lord, I have taken refuge. Let me never be put to shame."

"He will defend the afflicted among the people and save the children of the needy; He will crush the oppressor."

"I call on the Lord in my distress, and he answers me."

So please understand....Jesus heals, comforts, restores, renews, and most of all loves you. His promises are for everyone who trusts Him, and he NEVER fails. He is always faithful to His promise. If you have trusted in Him for salvation, hang on tightly to these promises and ask Him to heal you and help you overcome fear.

How can I deal with the hurt I have from being sexually assaulted?

Some things are just so hard. And honestly I completely understand, and can even personally relate to you. I was involved in an unhealthy relationship that was not pure. I compromised myself. After I felt convicted, I tried to back off, but he pressured and took advantage. I often felt used and also put up a big wall. And once I was at a friend's house and her dad invaded my space very inappropriately. I walked out on the situation and told her that night, only to have her not believe me. I was lucky that he confessed, but she let me know that she never really trusted me. Being invaded, taken advantage of, used, and abused is terrible, and people not believing you makes it that much worse. I've also had my share of suicidal thoughts, and my dad committed suicide when I was 13. Honestly, I think most people have the thought at some point. Everyone feels useless, worthless, misunderstood, and forgotten at times.

I don't think God causes these things to happen. Just like in Job, Satan does. But God allows it to teach us something and show his glory. But we can't have victory if there's no battle! The bible mentions that our life goes through seasons. In time things fade and the hurt will subside. You're not alone. There are some of us who understand. And God understands. He wants to tell you something through this. Listen to him crying out to you. My lesson in life was one of realizing that people are always going to let you down. But God is perfect, and He's always there, and not matter how devalued we feel, we know that He values us.

I also learned to be more careful and keep watch for Satan's schemes. 1 Peter 5:8-11 says, "Stay alert! Watch out for your enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your Christian brothers and sisters around the world are going through the same kind of suffering you are. In His kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation. All power to him forever! Amen."

I realized in the situation with my friend's dad that it was Satan trying to tear apart strong Christian relationships. Her dad wasn't Christian either. So I was able to forgive him. Forgiveness is imperative to full healing. However, forgiveness doesn't mean that you have to trust them again. I chose to forgive him in my heart and put it behind me, but wont be alone around him again. Though my friendship was ruined, and knowing Satan won in that regard, tore me up. The only way to get through was to pursue peace, which I have, even though our friendship will never be what it was. But you see, forgiveness and making peace is so very important to healing. Without forgiveness, you harbor bitterness and hold onto hurt. And if it was easy, God wouldn't have to place such emphasis on it.

Nothing worth it's spit is easy. If it's worth it at all, it's going to cost. It'll be tough. Forgive and forget. You don't have to trust that person. But that doesn't mean you can't trust anyone. Emotional baggage only builds up and adds on. If you hold onto that, it'll eat at you, and possibly ruin relationships. It could even cause undue hurt to your future husband. Know that there ARE good men of God out there. Just be cautious and use wisdom. That's what the bible means when it says to guard your heart and mind in Christ. I've learned that it's not a brick and steel wall, but a pretty white steel fence. Good stuff can still get through, and you can still touch others' lives with gentleness and beauty and grace from your heart, but it still keeps evil at bay. Just stand firm and strong in Christ and fight Satan. Why wouldn't we think that when we give our hearts to God, that Satan wouldn't be upset? He's doing everything he can to get you down, to make you stumble and tear you apart from Jesus. Don't let him win, he's not worth it. Fight him and claim victory in Christ!

Please feel free to email me anytime if you have any questions! Krystal@toddbecker.org

What would you do if your brother was sexually abusing you?

First of all, let me say to you that you have tremendous courage for taking the step to ask this question.  Taking this step takes a lot of honesty and openness and I commend you for that.

I am deeply sorry if this abuse is taken place in your life with your brother.  You or no one deserves any abuse, especially sexual abuse, no matter what the circumstance or situation is.

What you need to know is that your brother abusing you is NOT God's plan for your life and is far from God's will.  God is grieving over what has been done to you and is deeply saddened by your brothers sin.   Isaiah 30:1 talkes about the wickedness of people's sin, saying that "they make plans that are contrary to my (God's) will.  They weave a web of plans that are not from my Spirit, thus piling up their sins."   It is so important to understand that God did not plan for this to happen in your life, rather your brother did things and made plans to abuse you contrary to God's will.    The reason it is important to understand this is because if you think God meant this to happen to you and it was His plan, you will never go to Him (God) for healing and protection.  

Finally, to you main question. "what can you do."  First, run from your brother.  1 Corinthians 6:18 tells us to "run away from sexual sin."  This means never be alone in a room with your brother, never let him manipulate you into going somewhere or doing something alone.  In fact, you need to tell an adult in your community who will remain confidential and support you fleeing from your brother (like a counselor, pastor, etc).  This might even mean that you'll have to leave your home.    

Second, run into the restoring arms of God. Turn to God for refuge from your brother. "Keep me safe, O God, for I have come to you for refuge." (Psalm 16:1)  God is your only, and will be your only, source for safety - "The Lord is a shelter for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble." (Psalm 9:9)   Trust in God's promise to rescue you from your brother, ""The Lord is close to the broken hearted; he rescues those who are crushed in spirit." (Psalm 34:18)  The Bible is filled with God's promises to heal, comfort, rescue and restore those who come to Him - you can trust in His promises.

The last thing I would tell you is to NOT seek revenge against your brother or anyone else for what he has done to you.  Do not try to make a wrong a right by committing the same wrong.  Romans 12:17 says that we are to "never pay back evil with evil to anyone."  And the rest of this scripture says that we should never seek revenge, saying "never avenge yourselves.  Leave that to God."  

I will leave you with this scripture, Romans 12:21: "Don't let evil get the best of you, but conquer evil by doing good."

Please let me know if you have more questions or would like more Biblical encouragement. Email me anytime! Andrew@toddbecker.org

To cut or not to cut?

Thank you for your courage and honesty in sharing this with us.  You have taken a big step by simply being willing to talk about it.  Please know that we care about you and want to help you the best we can.  

I think the first question to ask yourself is "Why am I doing this?" "Why am I cutting, hurting myself, etc.?"  It is important to ask yourself this because I think most of the time you will find that the cutting, or hurting yourself is usually just a symptom of an issue or problem, not the issue/problem itself.  For example, a cough is usually a symptom of a cold, and if the doctor wants to deal with your cough, they will give you medicine for your cold.  

I believe the reason why most people harm themselves (cutting, etc.) is because they feel all alone in this life.  They feel like there is no hope, like no one cares for them.  Altogether, these feelings add up to the exact thing you said, "I can't handle life."  Thus, the cutting is often done to get those around you to see your pain in life.  

I would like to share with you three things that I think will help you deal with your struggle.  1) You are not alone in this life.  2) God already sees your pain; you don't need to hurt yourself to show Him or others. 3) Only God can heal your hurts.

To the first, point, the Bible says in Psalms 34:18 that "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted, He rescues those who are crushed in spirit."  In other words, you are not alone in this life.  You may feel alone, but understand that God is near.  "God will never leave you or forsake you." (Deuteronomy 31:6)  If we feel like we're all alone in fighting the battle of life, it's only natural that we get overwhelmed and can't handle it.  But when we understand that God is close, especially to those whose lives have been broken in two, it's much easier to live this life when we know that God in Heaven is offering his rescuing love. David, a follower of Jesus Christ who was going through some tough times in the Bible, said, "This I know: God is on my side." (Psalm 56:10)

Second, God already sees your pain.  He knows what you are going through, your hurts, frustrations and disappointments.  Psalm 56:8 says that "You (God) keep track of all my sorrows.  You have collected all my tears in your bottle.  You have recorded each one in your book."  Can you see how much God loves and cares for you?  He has a record of every tear that has ever fallen from your eye and every tear that never left your heart.  He knows your pain.  1 Chronicles 28:9 says that "The Lord sees every heart…"  Hurting yourself actually is hurting God because He sees everything.  And getting anyone else to see your pain will not help, it will only hurt you more, as you have seen with those who have made fun of you.  

Finally, the whole reason why God is with you, and why He has kept track of all your tears is because He wants to be your only refuge – your source of healing and help.  He wants to heal your broken heart.  God made a way for you, for your whole life to be healed.  God made this possible by the work of Jesus Christ on the Cross, saying, "Christ carried the burden of our sins.  He was nailed to the cross, so that we would stop sinning and start living right.  By His cuts and bruises, you are healed."  (1 Peter 2:24)  By the blood of Jesus Christ on the cross, you and I can be healed of all the past hurts, all the past mistakes and all the junk that has bogged our lives down.  Notice in the scripture how it says that Jesus was CUT and bruised…so that we would stop sinning (stop cutting ourselves) and in response, be healed.   He was hurt, we are healed.

The question comes down to your response to what God has done, to His love on the cross.  My hope and prayer is that you would make a choice to let Christ take your pain, as He has on the Cross, and fully turn your hurts and pain over to Him.  I understand that this is not easy and that it will take time, but listen to God's cry to you "Come…to me, and I will heal your wayward heart." (Jeremiah 3:22)

I hope this helps you.  Please know that this subject and your situation demands much more attention.  It would be good for you, and so I urge you to contact someone you trust in your community, like an adult, counselor or pastor, who can help you more on this.

General Questions

Why did Todd want to get drunk and why did he have to die?

Question:

Did Todd say why he wanted to get drunk and why did he have to die?

Response:

To anonymous who was wondering why Todd had to die. Thank you for reaching out to us with your questions and I hope I can answer it for you. If you remember during the assembly Keith talked about how there are two roads. Matthew 7:13-14, “You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.” So to answer your first question on why Todd wanted to get drunk, it was because he was choosing the easy road.

Now to answer the next question, Todd didn’t have to die. It was his choices that lead him down that wide road to destruction and ultimately led to his death. Now to better illustrate this I need to show you what the Bible says. In Romans 5:12 it says, “When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned.” Now you need to examine your own life, Todd’s life is over and his choices have been made but you still have a choice to make. Are you going to take the narrow road that leads to life? Or are you going to take the road that leads to eternal destruction? The choice is yours.

I would love to talk to you more about the Hope we have in Jesus . Jesus died a horrible death on the cross not because he did anything wrong, but because he loved us so much that he went through what we deserved. He endured that terrible death so that we could have our sins taken away. Hebrews 9:27-28 says, “And just as each person is destined to die once and after that comes judgment, so also Christ was offered once for all time as a sacrifice to take away the sins of many people.” If you put full trust in God and make him the Lord of your life you can be free from your sins. Jesus was the ultimate sacrifice for our sins so that we could be free from something we deserved. In Romans 10:9 it tells us how we can be set free from are sins and be right with God. Romans 10:9, “If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” The answer is found in Christ, Todd made his own choices now it’s up to you to decide what you do with Jesus.

I really want to talk with you please email me anytime, so please email me at Carter@toddbecker.org

Keith, how did you get over Todd dying?

Death is always a struggle to cope with, no matter what the age or circumstances. But the truth of it is, tragedy and death are inevitable. 100% of all humans die.

After my brother died, I really began to see the truth that some day I would die, just like my brother. So, one of the ways I began to cope with death is by seeking out the truth on what would happen to me after I would die. That's the point in my life that I began to honestly, and sincerely, read God's Word (the Bible). Naturally there were a lot of other emotions and struggles going on at that time, but for me it all came down to dealing with my sin and my rebellion from God so that I would know for certain that when I lay in that casket like my brother, I would be right with God and going to spend eternity in Heaven.

I say this all to conclude that death is much different to cope with when you know where you're going when you die (Heaven or Hell). No, that doesn't mean that death is easy to deal with, but it does take away a lot of the grief and wondering when you know that the grave really is not the end.

Have you considered where you will go when you die? If you haven't, I really encourage you to read Romans 3:20-26. This scripture gives a clear outline on how you can know you are right with God and going to Heaven, and not Hell (which is really the default destination for mankind).

I hope this helps with your question. I'd be happy to help you more with this. Feel free to email me anytime! Keith@toddbecker.org

Keith, how did you come to Christ?

How did I come to Christ? That's a good question. First of all, the Bible says that no one can come to Christ unless God draws them in (John 6:44). What this means, is that it is God who works in your heart. He worked in my heart through a number of circumstances. My brothers death was one of the circumstances that God used to open my eyes to my sinful lifestyle, to my rebellion from God, and ultimately, to my need for God's mercy. Is God working in your heart, drawing you to Christ...I believe by you reading this very post is evidence of God at work.

From that point of seeing my sin and rebellion from God, I began to see that God's holiness demands that He hold me accountable for my wayward choices (sin).

This is were God revealed to me his mercy over my sin. Though I deserved Hell and punishment for my choices, God laid on Jesus Christ my sin and punished Him for me. I encourage you to read Romans 6:20-26 to see for yourself what God did for, not only me, but for all.

Seeing God's holiness, my sin and the punishment that Christ bore on the cross for me, demanded that I no longer go the wide, easy way of sin and rebellion (Matthew 7:14), but turn from my sin and turn to Christ on the narrow road (Matthew 7:13). I came to Christ and fully surrendered my life to Him shortly after my brother died, and I can tell you, 6 years later, God has changed my heart, my mind, my past, my future, - He has changed everything about me.

The truth is that God desires that all people would see their sin and turn to Christ for forgiveness and a new life. I encourage you to search your heart and ask yourself if you have come to the cross of Christ and began your journey with Him on the narrow road. Your life will never be the same; mine has never been and never will be.

You can simply be honest before God in prayer and tell Him you see your sin and His holy standard for your life. Through prayer, tell God you are ready to turn from your sin and turn to Christ. He will do the work of changing you, if you'll just surrender to Him your life and future.

I would be privileged to help you more on this. You can email me anytime! Keith@toddbecker.org

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