Q and A

Connie from Nashville, TN asks...

Promote Fine Wines?

Dear Junebug: I would like to start a business and I know that I need to pray for Gods answer (and we all know it's truly hard to hear from God sometimes). I have an interest in wine and would love to open a wine shop; one which serves wines and appetizers for samplings, and also a variety of wines from throughout the world. Would this be unacceptable as a "Christian" to promote?

Posted in Stepchildren on Thu, Aug 19th 2010

Wine not?

Dear Connie:

After much prayerful consideration I have found a few guidelines I believe will be helpful in making your decision. Paul does an excellent job answering your question in 1Corinthians 8, so I'll just be the catalyst.  He is speaking to the mature believer regarding eating meat that has been offered to idols. Paul and the stronger believers knew that eating meat offered to a powerless nothing idol was meaningless; and their freedom in Christ to eat this meat was permitted as well. The issue was whether the stronger believers were a stumbling block for the weaker ones. Connie, I believe we Christians many times lose sight of doing the wise thing as we tend to cling to the knowledge and freedoms we have in Christ and forget our responsibilities to our fellow believers. This truly is dying to self when we can lay down our freedoms for the sole purpose of the spiritual health of the weaker believers. Paul admonishes the ones who are exercising their freedom to eat the "tainted" meat at the expense of being a stumbling block to the weaker. 1 Corinthians 8:13 says, "Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble." 

Connie, it's neither the meat nor the wine that causes me concern for you; it's the fact that owning the wine store could be a stumbling block for some of the weaker less mature believers and even for the sinners as well. We as Christians are always being watched, for we attempt to be the image of Christ. Jesus never said not to drink wine, but many times he states to be sober and vigilant. Paul says "don't not be drunk with wine..." (Ephesians 5:18). Jesus warns, drunkards will not enter into Heaven (1Corinthians 6:8). All this said, drinking wine can be a slippery slope for some, and as admonished by Paul, we have a responsibility as His children to be examples to others, even if it means losing some of our freedoms. 

Andy Andrews, a New York Times best selling author once asked his audience, "Is it morally wrong to work late with an opposite sex coworker and then have dinner with them?" He then concluded, " No, it's not wrong, but the key question is this, is it wise?" And the obvious answer to that question is, "no". I have often found myself using Mr. Andrews question,"Is it wise?", when I'm not sure if what I desire is right or wrong. Sometimes I just know "right" isn't always "wise".

Connie, ponder Paul's thoughts, read what Christ says about drinking and ask yourself the "right vs wise"  question. I believe you will hear from the Holy Spirit on this matter.

God's blessings on you dear one as you seek to please Him!

Junebug

Connie from Nashville, TN asks...

Love Our Enemies?

Dear Junebug: How do we handle those who have really hurt us, stolen from us, ruined our reputations, abandoned us and/or continue to harm us? I know that we shouldn't wish them harm even though we want to see justice. Do we pray for them or just pray that God help us to just let it go and let God handle the situation? In Psalms, David prayed evil, horrible things towards his enemies.

Posted in Broken Relationships on Thu, Aug 19th 2010

Pleases Him for You to Love Them!

Dear Connie:

I am currently memorizing Scripture and I purposely picked this Scripture in Luke which contains this verse, “… Love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. And pray for those who spitefully use you” ( Luke 6:27-28).  And the reason is, I too have people who I have totally or completely trusted who have betrayed or hurt me in devastating ways. I have found comfort in the following three truths:

First and foremost, I had to learn to forgive. It was a long process and certainly did not happen overnight. I prayed daily, sometimes hourly, for God to give me a heart of love, mercy, and forgiveness toward my betrayers. Every time a negative thought came to mind, I would make myself say out loud something positive, even if I could only find one good thing about that person. At first, I failed the forgiveness test more times than I passed. But the more I practiced blessing rather than cursing the person, the more I noticed a change in me. Finally, forgiveness came.

Second, keep your focus on Him. I have found that if my focus is on Jesus Christ, pleasing Him, loving Him and being obedient to Him, then I am much less apt to worry about the character-destroying spears being hurled at me. An important key to staying this course is to stay out of the path of the spear thrower, and work diligently to not let them draw you back into their web.

And third, you are commanded - not urged nor suggested, but ordered - to love this person. As it says in Luke 6:32, “But what credit is it to you if you love those who love you, for even sinners love those who love them.” Try this; love your enemy because He loves them, and this pleases Him for you to love them.

Concerning King David, he was under Old Testament law, regarding an “eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.” But with Jesus’ death on the cross, all of us entered a new covenant which commands forgiveness. If David were alive today, he would be offering mercy and grace rather than seeking Old Testament vengeance.

Connie, I can tell you first hand, if you follow these three truths faithfully, you will have a healthier perspective on future difficult relationships.

Junebug

  

JS from Miami, Florida asks...

Afraid?

Dear Junebug: I live a life dominated by fear. I am afraid that I will grow old alone. I am afraid I will get cancer. I am afraid of doing anything fun out of fear of the “what if’s”. I am even fearful of fear itself. I have been in therapy, read books on this subject, and still cannot get rid of the fear. It has crippled me such that I feel I have given my life over to the fears. Junebug, can you please help me?

Posted in Fear on Wed, Aug 18th 2010

Afraid Not!

Dear JS:

Fear is a spirit that comes from Satan not God. Paul says in 2 Timothy 1:7 “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” Another Scripture Jesus gives us on this subject is that “perfect love casts out fear” (1 John 4:18). Fear is not from God, therefore you must reject the spirit of fear by saying, “I renounce you, fear, in the name of Jesus. I renounce any power you have in my life.” I recommend you quote the above Scriptures several times a day. Fill your mind with God’s Word for it is His Truth that will set you free from fear.

Regarding the activities that you have given up to fear, start today by carefully introducing them back into your life one-by-one. For example, if fear has taken away “driving on the freeway”, venture today onto the interstate and drive just one exit. Take baby steps and each day increase your distance.  And as a very popular preacher once said “Do it afraid!”, BUT, do it!

Junebug

ABM from , SC asks...

Do Christians Drink Alcohol?

Dear Junebug: I have seen and heard many Christians that get very hung up about drinking alcohol. If done in moderation, as admonished by Jesus, what if anything is wrong with it? And if alcohol is ok, then is marijuana ok in God's eyes? It is less dangerous than alcohol when consumed in moderation.

Posted in Drugs and Alcohol on Wed, Aug 18th 2010

It Depends!

Dear ABM:

Several places in Scripture state not to be drunk with alcohol and drunkards will not inherit the Kingdom of God. Given those facts, I believe our Lord is quite clear that it is a sin to get drunk. However, I think He has left it up to us individually, according to His personal desires for each of us, on whether we are to drink in moderation or not at all.  I'm going to be simple and blunt. Drinking several drinks over the course of an evening is not in our Father's will. I do believe He allows some people to drink occasionally and moderately. If alcohol controls you, then I know that is not what He wants for you. I also know it will get in the way of your relationship with Him. If, however, drinking doesn't have a hold over you, meaning you could care less whether you have a drink or not, then He probably doesn't care if you drink occasionally.

If you think in any way "drinking" is affecting your "witness" with others, then obviously that is not to be compromised. If you have a friend or family member that has a problem with alcohol, then you should refrain from drinking around them. For Paul says in 1 Corinthians 8:13, "if food makes my brother stumble, I will never again eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble." 

You must be brutally honest with yourself in confronting this issue.  If the alcohol does not have a grip on you and our Father hasn't convicted you of giving it up, then it is not a sin for you. But remember, you must always keep a keen awareness of where you stand with our Father on this issue.  

Unless marijuana is legal, then I don't think we have a discussion on this matter.  God is very clear on commanding us to obey the laws of the land.  We have to be careful of justifying our actions as you stated above, “marijuana is less dangerous than alcohol when consumed in moderation."  It doesn't matter our justifications, God's way is right; period!

"...Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God" (1 Corinthians 10:31).

 Be honest with yourself,

 Junebug  

W.B. from Peoria, Illinois asks...

Follow Your Heart?

Dear Junebug: I believe we judge others by their actions and ourselves by our intentions. This allows us to condemn others for their "evil" deeds, while seeing our deeds as good, because we meant well. The world says "follow your heart", the Bible says your heart is more deceitful than any other thing and will lie to you. Yet most people justify their actions because their intentions are good, and follow their inner voice guided by their heart. They'll even say this guidance is God leading them. How do so many Christians acknowledge the blatant evil deeds of evil men and women who claim to be lead by God as sin, yet we feed our greed for money, success, affirmation and general fulfillment of the flesh with prayers to God to open doors of what we consider "blessing" for us? Should my first course of action any time I hear "God's voice" be to seek the wisdom of a “multitude of council” to determine whether or not the voice was divine or just mine, or do you believe I can at any point trust my intention and my heart to be pure and decipher God's voice from my own?

Posted in Religion on Tue, Aug 17th 2010

Follow the Shepherd

Dear WB:

I have found that we tend to see ourselves through rose colored glasses and look at others through a magnifying glass. It is imperative that we keep this natural tendency in check. I use three GUIDELINES to help me stay balanced in this area.

GUIDELINES for spiritual maturity: 

1. Be open to criticism. If others in your life do not feel safe in confronting you, then you will stay stagnant and never grow. Growth requires pruning. Pruning is the loving criticism of your friends and family. However, be careful who you allow to "prune" you, for some people have wrong motives. I suspect you already know who these people are so stay far away from their advice. Keep a healthy line of criticism open.

2. Ask yourself HONESTLY what your motive is in what you are doing.  Does it pass through the gate of kindness? Meaning, are your actions sincere and loving regarding the person/situation you are dealing with?

3. Most importantly, do your thoughts and deeds line up with God's Word? Let me give you a clue. If you are not reading His Word daily, then you don't know if your actions are in line with His. Get into the Word and pray. I know you will see yourself with clarity and see others through the lens of forgiveness and mercy.  

When you start using these three "GUIDELINES" regularly, you will be on your way to spiritual maturity. A wise Christian freely admits wrongdoing, and accepts criticism with joy; knowing that he/she is growing into a fully equipped follower of Jesus Christ! 

I trust that if you consistently use the GUIDELINES above, you will most certainly hear from God. He says “my sheep know my voice.”   

Listen using God’s Word,

Junebug      

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