The Bible Answers Short Questions From Our Readers
Plain Truth Staff
"I used to be a very zealous and dedicated Christian. I attended church regularly, and I never smoked, drank or caroused around, I did my best to serve God. "One evening while I was away from home, my house caught on fire. My five-year-old child suffered first degree burns. She died hours later in excruciating agony. The God I trusted in for protection and deliverance didn't come through when I needed Him. "Right now I feel the kindest thing I can say about this 'God' is that I don't believe He exists. If He does exist, He is a cold, merciless being, unreliable and unfit to be called 'God: You may think I'm bitter and blasphemous, but how else can you explain these things? No one has been able to give me a satisfactory answer. Maybe you can." An atheist, Chicago, Illinois
What? You were away from home? And left your five-year-old child by herself? What kind of irresponsible parent are you! And you called yourself a "Christian"? And blame the God of Heaven for failing to perform what are your responsibilities as a parent! You label the Creator "unreliable and unfit to be called 'God'"? It is you who are unreliable and unfit to be called a parent! Think this through. You are responsible for your child's welfare and protection. You are going to be judged for leaving your child unattended, unguided. Judged by the very God you deny exists! If you hadn't been utterly careless and thoughtless, your child wouldn't have perished in that fire. You don't deserve to be a parent until you learn what are the responsibilities of parenthood. What you need to do is write for our free booklet, The Plain Truth About Child Rearing — and read it! Then do what it says. The kind of Christianity you were reared in apparently knows nothing of child rearing. It certainly didn't teach you responsibility. It probably taught faith without works-just trust God and do nothing, shirk your duties. That kind of faith is dead (James 2:20). "Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone" (James 2:17). It takes living faith-faith with obedience. Everyone of our readers needs to understand this vital point. The reason many have needlessly suffered tragedy is that they have neglected their part. God, consequently, seems unreal. What you need is living faith. That kind of faith is made plain in our free booklet, What Kind of faith Is Required for Salvation? Write for it immediately. God gave you — and each human being — responsibilities for the development of character. To shirk these responsibilities is to SIN. Sin brings automatic penalties — suffering, sorrow, disease, death. These penalties are to teach us to repent — to avoid ever making the same mistake again. All the heartache, misery, sickness, and death you see in the world today is the result of sill — of carelessness — of willful neglect. It's time human beings quit sinning — quit breaking God's LAWS which were designed to yield peace, health, happiness, safety — and ultimately eternal life. That's where your little five-year-old daughter comes in. The true God has promised He will restore your daughter to life — to resurrect her (Rev. 20:12). Her life is not through forever. She will be resurrected to live her physical life in a world of peace and happiness — under God's, not man's, rule. Then, if she surrenders her self-will and yields herself to her Maker in faith, she will be born of God, given eternal life in God's Kingdom, His very family. How few know this grand purpose God has ordained for man! You need to know what the Bible says about the resurrection of your daughter, and why God has permitted such suffering in the world. Ask for the article, Why Must Men Suffer? and an accompanying article on the three resurrections. These are all free!
"I had always believed it was better to be happy than to be downcast and gloomy. But Ecclesiastes 7:3-4 says, 'Sorrow is better than laughter... The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning; but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth: "What's wrong with laughter? Does God want us to be sad?" S. B., Kerrville, Texas
Let's understand! There is no scripture that says it's wrong to be happy. One of the proofs of a Christian life is joy, brimful and running over (Galatians 5:22). Ecclesiastes 7:3 does not say laughter is wrong. It merely says that sorrow is BETTER than this kind of laughter! The context of the passage in Ecclesiastes shows us what kind of laughter is wrong. "It is better to hear the rebuke of the wise, than for a man to hear the song of fools. For as the crackling of thorns under a pot, so is the laughter of a fool: this also is vanity" (Eccl. 7:5-6). That kind of foolish laughter is wrong! Jesus came to give us ABUNDANT LIFE, joyful happiness, filled with the right kind of laughter (John 10:10). That is life FILLED TO THE BRIM — but in the right balance. Jesus said, "These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full" (John 15:11). Yet this same Jesus also said, "BLESSED are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted" (Mat. 5:4). God wants us to laugh and enjoy life, but at the same time to take life seriously. It takes both laughter and sorrow to make the whole man. That is, the right kind of sorrow. There is a wrong kind of sorrow just as there is a wrong kind of laughter. The wrong kind of sorrow is what prevails in the world today. This world's sorrow leads to frustration and anxiety, and often results in SUICIDE! II Corinthians 7:10 says the sorrow of the world works DEATH! But "godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation." This godly sorrow is better than laughter and mirth because it brings the right results. "Sorrow is better than laughter: for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better" (Eccl. 7:3). Godly sorrow leads to a CHANGE OF HEART! The sorrow of the world brings discouragement and a feeling of hopelessness. Godly sorrow strengthens your will, your determination to overcome the problems that beset you. You were meant to enjoy a truly balanced, abundant life. Why not find out how! Write in for two free articles, "How You Can Control Your Emotions," and "This Is the Life, Real Abundant Living!" They can change your life!
"Why is Satan the devil named Lucifer in Isaiah 14:12?" H. H., California
The name Lucifer in Isaiah 14:12 comes from the Latin. It is a translation of the Hebrew word Helel. This was the original Hebrew name of Lucifer, the cherub or mighty archangel who later became "Satan." Helel means "light-bringer." Lucifer also, in Latin, means "light-bringer." When the Bible was translated into Latin many centuries ago, the translators inserted the Latin, instead of the Hebrew, form of the term "light-bringer." Hence, Lucifer, the Latin form of the name, has been perpetuated in most English translations of the Bible — and the original Hebrew name of Satan, before his fall, has all but been forgotten. It is the meaning, not the sound, of the name that is important. Lucifer — Helel — was created as a "light-bringer." His function was to administer God's holy, just government which brought peace and light to those under his authority. But Helel — or Lucifer — rebelled against God's perfect way of life. He attempted to scale the heavens and seize God's throne. He failed — and fell to the earth in total defeat. Lucifer's name now became Satan, which means "adversary," to fit his changed and corrupted character.
"Does God Hear Sinners?" E. R., Arkansas
Everyone has sinned and cut himself off from God. "But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear" (Isa. 59:2). God hears not sinners (John 9:31). He will have no fellowship with those who sin. He hears only those who do righteousness. But if everyone has sinned, then there must be a way for sinners to come to God, or else we could never become righteous. How can sinners seek GOD? The prophet Isaiah tells us the way sinners come to God. "Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call upon him while he is near." But how do we call upon God' How do we seek Him? "Let the wicked forsake HIS way, and the unrighteous man HIS thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon" (Isa. 55:6-7). Let him repent of transgressing God's law, and accept Jesus Christ as Savior from its penalty. Christ is THE WAY. That is how you can come to God. Forsake the way you have been living, start to obey God. Once you repent of going the wrong way, YOU ARE NO LONGER A SINNER IN GOD'S SIGHT. He will hear you and give His Holy Spirit to you, if you obey Him (Acts 5:32). You must be willing to forsake your ways and thoughts and go the way of God. Then He will hear you because you "keep his commandments and DO those things that are pleasing in his sight" (I John 3:22).