The material in this book addresses a wide array of questions and then answers the questions according to insight found in the Bible. Inside The Complete Book of Life's Questions, you'll find hundreds of questions about real life—difficult questions people ask about abortion and abuse, sexuality and love, friendship and hope. This book is an excellent reference book that you'll pull off the shelf time and time again. Faith intersects with life. Let Scripture answer your questions using The Complete Book of Life's Questions. Tyndale House Publishers
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THE COMPLETE BOOK OF LIFE'S QUESTIONSWITH ANSWERS FROM THE BIBLE
By RONALD A. BEERS V. GILBERT BEERS
Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.Copyright © 2007 Ronald A. Beers
All right reserved.
Chapter OneABANDONMENT See also Loneliness, Neglect, Rejection
One of our greatest fears is the termination of a cherished relationship. Whether it is a result of abandonment, being forsaken, giving up, death, or divorce, our fear is of being left alone, of losing someone for whom we really care. Sometimes the hardest consequence of being abandoned is that it threatens our feelings of self-worth. How comforting it is to know that God will never abandon us! But the question is, have we abandoned him?
Has God abandoned me during my difficult times?
Even if my father and mother abandon me, the Lord will hold me close.
God is always at hand. There will be times when even those closest to you will neglect
or even desert you, but God never will. In fact, your difficulties can become the means to
experience God's presence even more intimately.
Is there ever a circumstance where God will abandon me?
The Spirit of the Lord had left Saul. 1 SAMUEL 16:14
God doesn't abandon you; but he does move on to do his work through others when
you make it clear that you do not want or need him in your life. If you walk away from
him, he will make repeated attempts to bring you back. But there comes a time when he
moves on because you have willfully and completely closed your heart to him. There is
nothing more frightening than God leaving your life, because you lose the connection
with the only one who can truly help and comfort you and secure your eternal future.
Does my suffering mean that God has abandoned me?
The Lord will not abandon his people. 1 SAMUEL 12:22
Suffering does not mean that God has left you. In fact, it is through suffering that you
can experience God's comfort more than ever. To abandon you, God would have to stop
loving you-and he cannot do that because he cannot act against his loving nature.
Rather than abandoning you when you suffer, our compassionate God moves in closer to
help, strengthen, and comfort you with his presence.
ABILITIES See also Gifts, Strength
Deep within the human spirit is a desire and a capability to do wonderful things. Because we are made in the image of God, we inherited from him the desire to create, to accomplish, to make things happen. But God wouldn't give us the desire without the means to carry it out, called abilities, or talents. They are the gifts God has given us to help us accomplish great things for him and to live fulfilling lives. How we use or misuse these abilities determines our quality of life-quality being defined not as comfort or the accumulation of things, but as character, joy, and lasting satisfaction. Our goal is to first discover our abilities, then develop them, and finally channel them toward what is good, helpful, productive, and God honoring.
How should I use my abilities?
Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small
amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. MATTHEW 25:21
For reasons we cannot explain, God seems to give more ability to some people than to
others. To those with more ability, he provides more resources. But he also requires more
responsibility from them. He expects you to maximize the effectiveness of your abilities
in proportion to his gifting. While the most talented people may seem the most blessed,
they must also be the most responsible.
How can my abilities become a danger?
Beware that in your plenty you do not forget the LORD your God and disobey his
commands, regulations, and decrees that I am giving you today. For when you have
become full and prosperous ... be careful! Do not become proud at that time and forget
the Lord your God. DEUTERONOMY 8:11-14
When your abilities bring you success and blessing, you are in danger of becoming
complacent and forgetting that God gave you those abilities to serve him and others. Another
danger of having great abilities is becoming proud and thinking you no longer
need God's help or advice from others.
Do my limited abilities limit my ability to serve God?
He takes no pleasure in the strength of a horse or in human might. PSALM 147:10
It is not by force nor by strength, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of Heaven's Armies.
God is more impressed by your faith than your ability. He uses your abilities only in
proportion to your faith in him. If you want to delight God, say yes to him, step out in
faith, and watch him accomplish great things through you. Abilities give you the potential
to do good; faith gives you the power to do good. Neither potential nor power alone is
sufficient. They must work in harmony. If God is asking you to do something, he will give
you the ability and the extra resources to get the job done.
ABORTION See also Euthanasia
A great controversy rages today concerning abortion. For some, abortion is about personal convenience and rights. But the real issue is the sacredness of human life and the identity of the unborn child. Is this merely a fetus, or is this a person? Is there a specific time when the fetus becomes a viable human being, or is it a human being from conception? Another part of the controversy is whether there are justifiable reasons for abortion. Most Christians argue against abortion as a means of birth control. But some argue that abortion is acceptable if it will save the life of the mother, if the pregnancy is a result of rape or incest, or if the unborn child is known to be brain damaged or deformed. Ultimately the core questions are these: In the process of conception and birth, when does human life begin, and what value do we place on the developing unborn child? God's Word is surprisingly clear on this issue.
When does life begin?
I was born a sinner-yes, from the moment my mother conceived me. PSALM 51:5
The Bible makes it clear that human life begins at conception.
What is the value of an unborn child?
You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother's
womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous-how
well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion....
You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
God is present continuously during the nine months of pregnancy-forming, watching,
creating, and even scheduling each day of the unborn baby's life. Before you were born,
God knew you personally and intimately, and he had already established a purpose for you.
The value of an unborn child is priceless because he or she is already a friend of God.
Don't I have the final say over what happens to my body?
Don't you realize that all of you together are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God
lives in you? God will destroy anyone who destroys this temple. For God's temple is holy,
and you are that temple. 1 CORINTHIANS 3:16-17
You say, "I am allowed to do anything"-but not everything is good for you. And even
though "I am allowed to do anything," I must not become a slave to anything. You say,
"Food was made for the stomach, and the stomach for food." (This is true, though someday
God will do away with both of them.) But you can't say that our bodies were made
for sexual immorality. They were made for the Lord, and the Lord cares about our bodies.
1 CORINTHIANS 6:12-13
Your body was created by God and designed by him as a place where his Spirit can
live. Even though you can choose what to do with your body, what you choose is not necessarily
right in God's eyes or good for you. Abortion fails on both these counts. It is not
right in God's eyes because it terminates a human life. And there is no medical evidence
to suggest that abortion is good for you. In fact, medical evidence clearly indicates it is
harmful-for your body, your mind, and your emotional state. The long-term consequences
of terminating a pregnancy are far worse than carrying that child to birth.
Does the Bible say anything specifically about abortion?
Do not permit any of your children to be offered as a sacrifice to Molech, for you must not
bring shame on the name of your God. LEVITICUS 18:21
The Bible doesn't specifically refer to the practice of abortion, but it does address
child sacrifice, a big issue in Old Testament days. Ironically, child sacrifice actually continues
today in a different form, in the flourishing industry called abortion. Things
haven't changed much over the centuries: Parents still sacrifice their children to the gods
of convenience and economy. Many believe that their own rights take precedence over
the rights of their unborn child. When personal preference becomes more highly valued
than another human life, spiritual priorities are completely compromised.
Is abortion absolutely wrong?
Anyone who murders a fellow human must die. If anyone takes a human life, that
person's life will also be taken by human hands. For God made human beings in his
own image. GENESIS 9:5-6
You must not murder. EXODUS 20:13
The Bible makes it clear that life begins at conception, not birth. Therefore aborting an
unborn child is terminating the life of that child and is absolutely wrong. If you are considering
an abortion, you must clearly understand the Bible's position on this issue. If you
have had an abortion or encouraged someone to have one, you must also clearly understand
the wonder of God's grace and mercy and accept his forgiveness (see 1 John 1:9).
Can God forgive me for having an abortion?
I recognize my rebellion; it haunts me day and night.... Create in me a clean heart,
O God.... Restore to me the joy of your salvation. PSALM 51:3, 10, 12
[The Lord says,] "Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow.
Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool." ISAIAH 1:18
Just as King David experienced the joy of total forgiveness after committing adultery
and murder, so you can know God's forgiveness-for any sin-if you confess your sin to
No matter how great your sin, God's forgiveness is greater. God can cleanse and heal
you from any and all sin, no matter how big or terrible it might be. No matter what you
may have done in the past, let God restore you to wholeness through his amazing, boundless
The abortion issue has nothing to do with me. Why worry about it?
Rescue those who are unjustly sentenced to die; save them as they stagger to their death.
Don't excuse yourself by saying, "Look, we didn't know." For God understands all hearts,
and he sees you. He who guards your soul knows you knew. He will repay all people as
their actions deserve. PROVERBS 24:11-12
Every child needs a champion, especially the unborn child. Perhaps God is calling you
to be a voice for the unborn or to help support a cause that helps the unborn. Maybe he
wants you to adopt a baby or help a new mother cope with her new child. Pray and ask
God how he might want you to help the unborn.
ABSENCE See also Loss
We all experience absence in some way. Sometimes our friends or family members leave us for a period of time, or maybe they were always absent from our lives. Sometimes our own absence causes us to miss important opportunities. And in difficult situations, we can feel as though God is absent or has moved away from us. Whatever the cause of an absence in your life, it is important to know that God is never absent. He sent his Holy Spirit to be present with us always.
Why do I sometimes feel that God is absent?
[Jesus said,] "Be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age."
The greater your troubles, the farther away God sometimes seems. In your darkest
hour, you may feel that God has left you. When it seems like God is absent, don't trust
your feelings; trust God's promise that he will never leave you. Rely on what the Bible tells
you is true, not on what your feelings tell you.
Listen! The Lord's arm is not too weak to save you, nor is his ear too deaf to hear you
call. It's your sins that have cut you off from God. ISAIAH 59:1-2
When God seems far away, it may be because you have moved away from him, not because
he has moved away from you. Sometimes it is your own persistent, willful sin that
causes you to feel cut off from God and miss the joy of fellowship with him. If you want to
feel God's presence again, you need to acknowledge your sin to God. Then through prayer
and time with him, you will begin to sense his presence again, and you will see evidence
of his work in your life.
Is God absent in my times of intense pain and loneliness?
Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside
me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me. PSALM 23:4
God never promised that following him would free your life from trouble, but he does
promise to be with you at all times and to help you move through your problems with
more wisdom and less fear. It is in your darkest moments, when you need him most, that
he is ready and able to help when you ask him. Sometimes God takes away your problem
immediately. But more often God allows you to struggle so you can learn and grow stronger
because of it. Either way, he knows your trouble and walks beside you through it.
Why is it important for us not to be absent in our relationships
(from our families, from our jobs, from the church, etc.)?
Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person
falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble.
Your presence provides physical and emotional support to others. Two or more can
forma team and accomplish much more together than separately. When someone needs
a "lift" emotionally, an inanimate object doesn't do much; that person needs a smile, a
kind word, a hug, or a touch from someone who cares.
Come, let us tell of the Lord's greatness; let us exalt his name together. PSALM 3 4 : 3
They all met together and were constantly united in prayer. ACTS 1:14
Your presence provides spiritual support to others. God's people should meet together
in God's presence for worship, prayer, and to encourage each other.
When Joseph's brothers saw him coming, they recognized him in the distance. . . . Some
time later, Reuben returned to get Joseph out of the cistern. When he discovered that
Joseph was missing, he tore his clothes in grief. GENESIS 37:18, 29
When you are absent, you miss crucial opportunities to help others. Much good can
be done by just being there.
Are there times when it is best for me to be absent?
Esau hated Jacob because their father had given Jacob the blessing. And Esau began to
scheme: "I will soon be mourning my father's death. Then I will kill my brother, Jacob."
But Rebekah ... sent for Jacob and told him, "Listen, Esau is consoling himself by plotting
to kill you.... Flee to my brother, Laban, in Haran." GENESIS 27:41-43
Sometimes it's better to leave a violent or inflammatory situation (see also 1 Samuel
[David] told Uriah, "Go on home and relax." ... But Uriah didn't go home. He ... replied,
"The Ark and the armies of Israel and Judah are living in tents, and Joab and my
master's men are camping in the open fields. How could I go home to wine and dine and
sleep with my wife? I swear that I would never do such a thing." 2 SAMUEL 11:8-11
There may be times when a higher duty calls for your absence from your family, but
these times shouldn't become a way of life. The pattern for family success is personal
ABSOLUTES See also Truth
In recent years, tolerance has become a virtue-you believe what you want and I'll believe what I want and everyone will be happy. But if everyone did what they wanted, it wouldn't take long for chaos and anarchy to reign. Thus, there must be some absolute truths, set in place from the beginning of time, that apply to all people in all times and places. When people live by these truths, the world functions well. Ironically, tolerance embraces every kind of religion, idea, and belief but denies the existence of absolutes: "The only absolute is that there are no absolutes!"
Excerpted from THE COMPLETE BOOK OF LIFE'S QUESTIONS by RONALD A. BEERS V. GILBERT BEERS Copyright © 2007 by Ronald A. Beers. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
Aging/Old Age 32
Call of God 100
False Prophets/Teachers 277
Holy Spirit 339
Judging Others 375
Peer Pressure 484
Presence of God 522
Spiritual Disciplines 647
Spiritual Dryness 648
Spiritual Warfare 651
Timing of God 703
Will of God 742
About the Authors 765