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About GandalfTheWise

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  1. Care taker for my husband

    There are some things we can help others with; there are some things that they must decide to do themselves. When you say you are his "caretaker", is he disabled in some way? Or is it just that he doesn't take care of his medical condition? How is the rest of his life? Is he satisfied and content? stressed? Is work going good? or unemployed? I spent many years way too stressed out about work and other things and it affected my health. The simple act of leaving my last two jobs due to stress and poor working conditions and I've lost about 60 pounds in the past few years without changing my diet or lifestyle much. There can be emotional or other things in life that affect our health and ability to take care of ourselves. If there are spiritual or emotional things that are dragging him down, those could be having an impact on his health and motivation to do things.
  2. There are two steps to something like this. The first is taking steps to mitigate the damage to prevent as many long-term consequences as possible. It sounds like you are actively doing that. The second is trying to find the root cause(s) of this. Why do you want or need or crave the attention so badly? Until that is dealt with, you are probably going to struggle with this. I'm not a counselor or anything, just someone who has read a lot and observed a lot of people over the years. I'm just going to toss some things out as food for thought and meditation. Sometimes, the behaviors that have our attention are symptoms and not the real problem. Sometimes the real problem is buried deep within us and we cannot see it for what it is. We can do many things to reduce a fever, but until an infection is dealt with, the fever will keep returning. Sometimes we have spiritual wounds inside of us that affect us. This could be from emotional hurt from abuse or neglect or deep loss or grief. The sort of things that either keep us awake at night or the sort of things we bury away and refuse to think of. These are things that God needs to take us on a path of healing. Often, we may need to forgive someone for something. Sometimes we need to realize being a victim was not our fault. Sometimes it would be helpful to talk to an experienced Christian counselor or pastor for some things. Sometimes we have spiritual lies embedded into our hearts. There is a world and enemy that hates God and hates every beautiful creation He has made and does not want any human being to become what God wants them to. We often end up with lies and accusations embedded deep within us that we are not what God created us to be. At times when we are young and spiritually vulnerable, those lies get stuck inside of us and become reality for us. You are worthless. You are stupid. You are ugly. You are clumsy. You can't do anything right. You'll never amount to anything. God hates you. You deserve everything that happens to you. No one could ever love you. You deserve to be alone. What start out as accusations and lies start to become parts of our identity as we believe and accept them. I am worthless. I am stupid. etc. Sometimes, we need to let God shine His light and truth inside of us to see these lies for what they are and reject them. I'd suggest praying that God would show you what He wants to change inside you. Maybe a few questions to ask yourself and prayerfully consider. When do you remember first feeling this way as a child? How do you feel without attention? Do you struggle with negative feelings of some sort ( for example, feeling worthless or ugly or stupid or lonely)? Do you have any particular phrases that you constantly repeat to yourself? (Here are few real ones I've heard people talk about. I'm a loser. No man could ever love me. God made me stupid. I don't know what I'm doing.) Are there particular scenes in movies, books, songs that you hear, paintings that you see, whatever, that cause an unexpected strong emotional reaction that catches you by surprise? Sometimes those types of things unexpectedly put a mirror to our face and something inside of us peeks out at us. Sometimes these are positive things, the person God created us to be stirring to life and trying to break out of the masks we put on. Sometimes these are negative things, the pains and lies that are buried inside that sneak out. Ask God to bring to your attention to what He wants to work on. Sometimes we may need to talk to a Christian counselor or pastor for assistance in this. God created you to be special person made to reflect His glory in a way unique to you. You need to learn to walk closely with God as that person He created you to be. You need to learn how spiritual disciplines (such as Bible reading, prayer, meditation, getting together with other Christians) work best for you. I suspect you may be like me and need to move from season to season with such things. Some people can get onto the same spiritual schedule for these things for decades and grow. I can do something (e.g. bible reading) in an intense way for perhaps 4 to 6 months and then I don't get much out of it anymore. Then I need to move to the next thing. Over the years, I've learned how to follow God's leading as to next thing I need to be doing to grow. Learning to embrace variety has helped me grow.
  3. Arminianism

    I would reduce the initial chart to a single entry: Who determines an individual's salvation? Calvinists say God does and Arminians say the individual does. Many years ago, I was reading one of Millard Erickson's theology books. He summarized the fundamental difference between all the varieties of Calvinists and Arminians as this: Calvinists believe that an individual's salvation is God's decision whereas Arminians believe that salvation is the individual's decision. Erickson's conclusion was basically that while there were problems with both, Calvinism seemed the more consistent with scripture. I would add one further point that never seems to be considered. Calvinists and Arminians both believe that human logic dictates that only one or the other is correct and hence centuries of Christian infighting over the point. It is a belief in this logic that it is simply assumed to be common sense and accepted without question. However, is it Biblical to simply accept that it has to be one or the other? Neither side is willing to consider that it is possible that sovereignty vs. free will is perhaps one of those mysteries of the faith such as Jesus being fully human and fully divine or the Trinity where God is at the same time one God but 3 Persons. We accept Christ's full humanity and full deity and we simply say that Bible passages which point to His humanity do not disprove His deity nor do Bible passages which point to His deity disprove His humanity. We accept both as true. In the same way, we do not use verses pointing to God being one God as disproving He is not 3 Persons, nor do we use verses clearing showing 3 Persons as proof of tri-theism. We take passages showing God's unity as well as 3 Persons on their face value and accept both as something we as finite beings cannot wrap our heads around. We comfortably talk about Jesus being human. We comfortably talk about Jesus being God. We do not use logic to prove that we must choose between the two options as many heresies that either reject the humanity or the deity of Christ (or force a modality where He was first human and then divine or talk about a human "Jesus" and a divine "Christ"). Over the years, I've come to accept scripture passages both dealing with God's sovereignty and human free will to be taken on their face value and not to explain them away. I've come to accept both as true and fit this under the same category as the Trinity and the Humanity/Deity of Christ. It does make reading the Bible much more enjoyable. I don't have to spend my time worrying about whether Pharaoh hardened his heart or God hardened Pharaoh's heart and which of those verses are the "real" ones and which need to be "explained". I just take both as written and say that it seems that the Bible teaches both are equally true statements. I've decided to reject logic that says one or the other is correct and go with the preponderance of Biblical evidence that seems to say that both are true. So, basically this means everyone thinks I'm a fruit cake that needs Biblical correction because I now refuse to join either side in a centuries long schism.
  4. my sister - any advice?

    I think an important thing is discernment as to what the real issue is. Often, many of the things we are most concerned about in ourselves and other people are *symptoms* of a deeper cause. For example (hypothetical case only, I'm not suggesting this is actually what is happening), if your sister is angry and frustrated and rebellious towards your parents and the church, this is going to result in a lot of different behaviors that are not good. If the root issue is anger and bitterness, getting her out of the current relationship is damage control and isn't dealing with the real problem. More issues would continue to emerge in the future. Continuing on in the hypothetical case, is this just rebellion and stubbornness gone too far, or was your sister hurt in some way by your parents or the church? In that case, apologies, reconciliation, and forgiveness may be needed for healing and change to occur. I'm not suggesting that is the actual case though I've seen that in a few people. I'm just trying to generate food for thought as to if this relationship is indeed the main issue or if there is something deeper that God wants to work on. When something is going on with someone, I prayerfully try to discern what the real issue is that God wants to deal with at present. I then focus my prayers and interactions with that person on addressing that deeper issue. I've at times seen that the most obvious stuff we are most concerned with are symptoms rather than root causes. Of course, that's not to say we don't try to minimize consequences of what's going on, but we need to focus on what God's priority is for change in someone. If we do not deal with the root issue, we're going to see a range of different problems keep emerging and we end up fighting a bunch of different battles without ever fixing the real problem. Sometimes what we see is the real issue; sometimes not. In this case, the main issue might be the relationship itself, or the relationship might just be a symptom of some deeper spiritual battle going on inside your sister.
  5. Principles of Interpretation - Hermeneutics

    Here is one book I'd recommend for anyone to read. I first read it back in early 1980s when it first came out (and still have my original copy). It's a very good introduction to learning to interpret scripture from a historical standpoint. What this book is great for is learning to answer the question, "What did this mean to the original hearers of the message?". For a time, I used this method exclusively, but then eventually realized it is a major part of good study but not all of it. "How to Read the Bible for All It's Worth" by Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart. I just noticed it's on a 4th edition. The reality is that every time anyone of us quotes a Bible passage and says "this is what it means" or "this is how we should apply it", we are taking upon ourselves the role of interpreter and spokesperson for God. Furthermore, we are taking a tremendous spiritual responsibility upon ourselves if in this role we determine who is and who is not pleasing to God by whether they match up or not with our interpretation. We need to be extremely careful that we are NOT just expressing our own opinion (or the opinion of our denomination or church) as being equivalent to the authority of scripture. If I say Matt 5:29 (If your right eye causes you to stumble, 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.) is NOT meant to be taken literally, I am taking upon myself the role of interpreter. I am telling someone addicted to pornography NOT to take this verse literally as a means of stopping the sin. This is a case where all Christians would agree NOT to take scripture literally. If I say Matt 28:19 ( Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit...) means baptism the way MY church practices it (and that all other methods are at best ineffectual and at worst a spiritual perversion), I have become an interpreter and enforcer of my interpretation. (But that's okay because my church is right and the others are wrong. ) This is a case where there are extremely passionate opinions where some Christians feel it is the proper spiritual thing to do to have nothing to do with people who have different opinions about it. If I choose sides on what a particular verse means and use that choice as a standard of determining if someone is "in error", "not pleasing to God", "under a curse", etc., I had better be sure of two things. First, I'd better be sure that I'm on the right side and that I indeed am taking God's view of it. Second, I'd better be sure that this is as important to God as it is to me. I first became acutely aware of this when I was involved in a church plant with an inexperienced pastor. In our initial planning meetings and small group meetings, I came to observe that he would not tolerate any questions when he said something. If anyone questioned him about a particular verse or anything or expressed a contrary opinion, his response was "well that's what the Bible says. Don't you believe the Bible?" As I quickly came to see, this was not wisdom, learning, and great discernment, but rather it was arrogance, insecurity, and stubbornness. His Bible study lessons and teaching were often full of conjectures and peripheral issues that few Christians would all agree on. The "discussions" were not discussions. Basically, anyone who did not toe the doctrinal line in each and every detail he held "didn't believe the Bible". My family and I were the first ones out the door. Within about a year, all of the original people involved (except for the pastor) had left as well. In my opinion, we all need to examine ourselves very carefully that we are both 1. rightly interpreting scripture and that 2. we are rightly enforcing it in the way God would (or would not) want us to.
  6. What do you think Jesus meant?

    This has been interesting for me since I've long known this verse and never really dug into it until now. The last big thing I see of interest is the word order in Greek. It's roughly: the one believing in me, the works which I am doing, that one will (future tense) also do, and even greater (than my works) they will do, because I am going to the Father. Sometimes, there is a tendency in Greek sentences to start with the familiar and move toward the unfamiliar. If so, this would run in the following chain of thought for the disciples hearing this. "The one believing in me will do the works I am doing." This would be no surprise since the 12 (and others) had been sent out by Jesus to do miracles and proclaim the kingdom of heaven. To some extent, it's a statement of fact of what's been happening. But then we move to something different. "And even greater works that one will do". This is somewhat different. What they've been doing for a few years and watching Jesus do is not all that is going to happen. Works and deeds beyond what Jesus and the disciples had been doing would happen. And finally, He says that the reason that this will happen is because He is going to the Father. Jesus had already given authority to the 12 and they had done and seen many things, but because Jesus was leaving to return to the Father meant that something more would happen beyond what they had already seen. The context of this verse in the last supper is also interesting. The following verses including asking for things in prayer as well as keeping His commands and the coming of the Holy Spirit. A further context that is interesting is the entire book of John. The author obviously included many things that he thought that the works of Jesus included. Water into wine at the wedding, the clearing of the temple courts, talking to Nicodemus, talking to the Samaritan woman at the well and staying for a few days to talk to the Samaritans in the town, healing the official's child, healing the lame man, debating the pharisees and lawyers, ministering and then feeding the 5000, walking on water, teaching the crowds about God and the Kingdom, preaching at the temple, and other things. Within what is recorded here (not counting the other things in the synoptic gospels) we have miracles, teaching, dealing with crowds and individuals, ministering to individuals, and the explicit statement that He did many more things that weren't recorded in this book. Moving forward into the book of Acts, we have a further list of works and deeds we can add such as conversions, the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost and at other times and places. In addition, Acts and the Epistles contain many references to the new life in Christ wherein believers are a new creation and not merely people trying to do good things. My sense of this verse is that it applies to all Christians individually (since the verse is explicitly singular not plural in Greek). The works include everything (mentioned in the NT) from answered prayers to miracles to a transformed life to ministry. This verse basically states the works of Jesus and early believers in the early church in Acts are meant for "one who is believing in me" without limitation and (from context) is because the Holy Spirit is sent to dwell in believers.
  7. Many times Christianity is misrepresented as being a system of rules and laws; of punishment and reward; and of doing the best we can. Christianity is not about that, but it is about revolution and transformation. We see those things that we despise and abhor in the world such murder, genocide, rape, disease, natural disasters, and things that seem unfair and unjust. We see those things that we admire and like about the world, friendship, love, compassion, and the beauty of nature. We think that the world would be a better place if we got rid of the bad and kept only the good. Indeed, God is going to get rid of all of the evil and harmful things. He's going to take all of those things and chuck them onto the garbage heap and burn them away forever. Heaven will indeed be a place where all of those harmful and hurtful things will be gone. The issue is that each one of us is contaminated with this evil. It is not about being mostly uncontaminated. It is that we are all carriers of it and have been touched by it and have touched others with it. Adam as patient zero contaminated us all. Some of us have a lot more symptoms than others, but we all have it. We have all hurt people (in spite of our best efforts, we have hurt people). We all have addictions and compulsions and urges we cannot control. We have all been wounded by it, and we all carry it and spread it. Heaven being a good place is not about trying to triage and quarantine people into those with fewer symptoms and those with more symptoms, it is about being completely healthy and free of it. Having fewer symptoms than someone else or taking a few aspirin to reduce the fever does not make us disease free. The reality is that each of us would be a source of contamination that cannot be allowed in. Christianity is about being transformed and changed from within. The purpose of Jesus' work was not just forgiveness, but transformation. The revolutionary thing about Christianity is that God has decided to live inside of us. It's not about being given a free pass to Heaven as we are; it is about being changed into a person that is becoming a good person and fit into Heaven. The Bible says that the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, self-control, etc. Being patient does not mean taking anger management classes, learning to count to 10 before speaking, or learning how to bottle up our anger; being patient means that we do not get angry. This is not something we teach ourselves to do; this is something that happens as God changes us from inside. The message of Christianity is that as we walk with God, we will be transformed and changed into the unique person He intends for us to be, and be able to live life to the fullest in a grand adventure of walking with Him. So, how do mass-murderers, pedophiles, rapists, etc. fit into this? The issue is forgiveness. Forgiveness does NOT mean that nothing happened. Indeed, something happened. Sometimes something unspeakable and unfathomable happened. Forgiveness does NOT mean those things are right or will ever be right. Forgiveness means that we let it go and don't let it have a hold on us. Forgiveness means that I have decided that what happened will not continue to affect my emotions and thoughts. I will not dwell on it at night when I cannot sleep. I will not have this bottled up rage that it isn't fair. I will let it go so that the original event(s) and act(s) no long have their claws buried deep within my soul continuing to poison me. (As a practical matter, it doesn't mean I have to trust that person or reconcile with them. In some cases, they haven't changed, I do not have to endanger myself or others.) The key to us forgiving people is that we do not let past events continue to be an infected wound that slowly poisons us emotionally. We treat it, let it heal, and are left with a scar that is a memento of something that we survived and moved on from. Lack of forgiveness is an infected wound that slowly poisons us (and others around us). Forgiveness is a way of treating that wound so it can heal over. If there is a particular person or group that we see and react to, our blood boils, we become sick to our stomach, we relive the events, we want justice and revenge, we want something to happen to them, it means that we are bound with chains of bitterness and anger. No amount of justice or revenge or anything will heal us or free us. It may give momentary satisfaction to see them suffer. However, only forgiveness will bring the healing we need. When Jesus was on the cross, His words were "Father forgive them". When Stephen was being stoned, his dying words were “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” Forgiveness is not about declaring what someone did as being okay. It is about letting it go. When God forgives us and others, He is letting go everything we've done that has hurt others. Compared to Hitler or Stalin, I'm a saint. But I know I've done things to people that has caused them pain and hurt (and I'm sure there are many more I don't know about). I know I'm part of groups that have hurt people. We are all guilty of this. It is not the question of whether we are more or less guilty of being part of the problem with the world, it is the issue that we all contribute to the problems in the world. Christianity is about God's plan and means to transform all of us so that we are no longer part of the problem but part of the solution. It doesn't mean we become perfect overnight. It means that over time He transforms us so that the unique person we were created to be can start to be the person He means for us to be in ever increasing freedom. It means that we are being changed into people suitable for Heaven who can enjoy and contribute to it being a good place. Some of us have a head start and are on this journey most of our lives; others start at the last possible moment.
  8. God intends for each one of us to be a unique work of art that will reflect Him in a way no one else can. Being a Christian is not about losing our identity into a generic featureless "Christian" life that is the same as everyone else's; it is about becoming everything that God intended us to be in freedom and liberty. (By freedom and liberty, I mean being free from addiction, bitterness, anger, emotional pain, self-destructive urges, and the like. I'm not referring to doing anything and everything without consequence.). It means being free of the things inside of us that hold us back from being that unique person God created us to be. Being a Christian is about being healed and energized and released inside of ourselves to live life as an adventure in freedom alongside of God; it does not mean everything around us becomes perfect. "Wanting God for Him" is not a prerequisite for the Christian life; it is a result of it. Being "passionate enough about God" is not something we stoke up on our own; it is a natural outgrowth of walking with Him and getting to know Him. @Chrysandra, you are a unique treasure that God created, not to be like everyone else, but to be like you. He wants to set you free of whatever things are holding you back from being that unique person He intends. Your walk with God will be different than mine and anyone else's. All of us have struggles, wounds, pains, and secret shames that God has to heal to restore us into the unique person He intends for us to be. The feelings each of us have towards God grow and change as we walk with Him and are slowly changed, healed, and grow throughout the years. Walking with God is about becoming the person He means us to be (whether artistic, creative, passionate, calm, nurturing, energetic, introverted, outgoing, whatever) and being that person in our lives and leaving behind the stuff (addictions, bitterness, anger, hurt, etc.) that keeps us from being that person that we know in our deepest heart that we are meant to be. I believe that deep within us, God has placed a unique person that He intends us to be, that unique God-created person that we somehow know, despite what happens around us, that we are somehow meant to be. That is the call of God to walk with Him as a unique creation and person. When we are walking with God and in a healthy relationship with Him and others, that unique person will naturally emerge and flow out from us to touch the world and reflect God's glory in a way no one else can. When we are not walking with God and have broken relationships with others, the unique person inside of us will be in constant struggle against God and other people. Instead of being free to be who we are meant to be, we are bound and constrained (not by God or others) but by our wounds, addictions, anger, uncontrollable compulsions, and burdens. We become a mixture of the good God intends and some face of the evil that we ourselves hate in the world.
  9. Principles of Interpretation - Hermeneutics

    I tend to follow the same approach as @shiloh357 as a starting point to study. Here's a suggestion for a non-controversial topic that should be fairly simple to address and illustrate the general method. This might give a nice intro to hermeneutics without generating strong emotions and doctrinal fights. Here are a handful of verses where something is explicitly commanded, but we really don't do it today, and indeed tend to discourage it as literally written, but try to implement it culturally appropriately. Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the churches of Christ send greetings. Rom 16:16 All the brothers and sisters here send you greetings. Greet one another with a holy kiss. I Cor 16:20 Greet one another with a holy kiss. II Cor 13:12 Greet all God’s people with a holy kiss. I Thes 5:26 Greet one another with a kiss of love. Peace to all of you who are in Christ. I Pet 5:14
  10. Sex talk: Christian Dating Advice

    I've got three daughters (mid 20s to early 30s) of whom two are married. I'm viewing this thread through the viewpoint of what I would want for them and what I would tell them. FWIW Those are some red flags you mention. There are some manipulative men out there there will put on a very different face to get what they want and have learned how to play with people's feelings to get what they want. Then there are some good Christian guys in their first relationship who get swept up and overwhelmed by the emotions and newness of it and have no clue how to act and at times act unseemly. I was one of the latter and fortunately my wife decided I was too (and she had at one point called off our engagement). We just celebrated 34 years of marriage this summer. On the other hand, one of my daughters seemed like a magnet for bad-news jerks. There was one I had mentally prepared myself for the potential of physical violence if he would have shown up at our house. Fortunately, she found a good Christian man to marry (a pastor's kid who went his own route for a few years and then came back to the Lord) and we now have a great son-in-law. Relationships and marriage are a serious thing that will affect all aspects of your life for a long time and even more so once children come into the picture. Prayerfully consider what to do. Look carefully at a man's family, attendance and involvement at church, daily spiritual life, circle of friends, interests, career path, motivation, work ethic, financial condition, lifestyle, how he treats other people, his temper and how he deals with setbacks, how he gets along with your friends and family, and other such things because they will have a huge impact on your life. Is he basically a good solid man with a solid life (with some flaws to address) who will be there for you and your children, or a faker who is putting on a show and will not stick with you for the long run? My two daughters that are married found solid Christian guys with good Christian families that my daughters like being with, who are hard workers, and who get along well with her family and friends. You don't just marry a man; to a large extent you also marry his family, friends, church circles, job, education, attitudes, debts, interests, and other such things. If a man does not already have a solid Christian lifestyle (including spirituality, a good work ethic, a good circle of Christian friends, a solid history of church and ministry involvement, a good reputation, etc.), Get Away Now! Having a relationship with him is unlikely to change him for the better and will likely drag you down and cause you (and down the line potentially your children) a lot of grief and pain.
  11. Sex talk: Christian Dating Advice

    Questions like "what in the world does A, B, or C mean for bras?" or such things might represent naivety and having been quite sheltered being raised. Asking about you personally is getting out of line as is making things like this the focus of conversation. If you don't have a good feeling for this guy, I'd recommend not pursuing a relationship at all. Having said that, some people can make a very bad first impression and simply have terrible social skills (including being oblivious to boundaries and what's considered polite). But the way to see if an impression is justified or not is to observe them and have limited interactions in a safe setting such as church or group activities where you are not alone with them.
  12. Delicate Neighbor Situation

    It would depend on how good my relationship was with my neighbor and my neighbor's general personality and attitude. The bottom line is that I'd probably base what I'd do on who the neighbor was and my history with him and how much I am concerned about the the money I spent. Some neighbors I could go to with a "Dude, your dog sent me to urgent care!" and they'd offer to make it right and do something. Others, I'd approach more tactfully. Perhaps by asking if the dog was current on their shots with the intent of slipping in the information during the conversation that I ended up at urgent care because it bit me. I'd then base what I did next on their reaction. Some people I know would pay for it without thinking (either cash or figuring out how to inform the insurance company). Others would not. That then becomes a situation to consider how the money fits within our plans for future relations. Dogs biting people is serious business. It could be a small child next time or more severe injuries to someone. That could result in lawsuits or the dog being confiscated and put down. A responsible dog owner would appreciate being told and would do what they could to make it right and to make sure it doesn't happen again. That having been said, some dog owners are not responsible.
  13. What do you think Jesus meant?

    The third thing I find interesting is the phrase ὁ πιστεύων εἰς ἐμὲ (usually translated as something like "the one who believes in me"). A few interesting things about this phrasing. First is that it seems open ended. It is not restricted to the disciples. Another thing is the choice of the Greek participle used. In English, we don't have as big a distinction between different aspects of action that Greek does. I'll try to explain this. Imagine that I saw a parade last week. Today, I could represent that entire process of attending and enjoying it as a summary. "I saw a parade." In contrast, during the parade, I could describe the process of what I'm doing as "I am watching a parade." In one aspect, the focus is summarizing the action, in the other the focus is on emphasizing that the action is occurring. This Greek participle emphasizes an ongoing action of believing. It could be translated as "the one who is actively believing in me" or "the one believing in me". There seems to be a direct emphasis on the action and process of believing as something more ongoing than a once-for-all type of emphasis. I think that this seems to carry the idea of ongoing faith in one's life rather than an initial act of faith or belief.
  14. Mental Illness

    I agree fully. We lived frugally and worked hard to be out of debt and build up a rainy day fund. We decided that was the rainy day it was for. I truly do not know what I would have done if taking time off was not an option. I seriously feel very bad for people in similar situations who do not have that option. After this happened, as I started to talk and share what was going on with people, I was amazed at how many people I know who shared that they had struggled with severe stress at work and never really talked about it.
  15. Help

    Hang in there. Most Christians (probably all) experience doubts and fears at times. At the Last Supper, when Jesus told the disciples that one of them would betray him, they all became concerned and started asking if it would be them even though Judas was the only one who had already started to do it. In my opinion, doubts and fears are often a sign of two things, first, that we are concerned about it (which is a good thing!) and second, that we simply need to get to know God better so we trust Him more. The main remedy to doubts and fears is trusting God more. This is something that comes over time. As we spend time with Him (and His people), as we see what He does in our lives and others' lives, as we get to know Him more and more, our doubts and fears diminish. Consistent bible reading, prayer, meditation (by which I mean thinking about positive spiritual things rather than negative things), and spending time with other Christians are ways that we spiritually grow and come to know God more and more.