Youth Open Forum

Got a tough question that you want to ask, but haven't had the chance to ask anyone? This is your opportunity to ask! Ask any question you want and I'll try my best to answer it as soon as possible. Your name will not be added so you can be sure that no one will know who asked the question. Go ahead, give it a shot!

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Is there really a God, and if he exists, how do I know that he exists?

Since God is not someone we can see in the hallway after school, joke with at work, or sit down with for supper, His existence has been questioned for centuries (millennia!). The simple answer is, yes there is a God. How do I know? Well, I know him personally. I have a real relationship with him. When I look around at our world, I do not say to myself, "Hmmm... it sure is lucky that things just happened the way they did so that the world just created itself...". No, I say to myself, "Hmmm... God must be totally awesome to have created this amazing place!" A book in the Bible called Psalms states that the heavens declare the glory of God. God's creation proves his existence; however, in the end you have to make the choice about what you believe. Another verse in the Bible (Romans 1:20) states, "God's eternal power and character cannot be seen. But from the beginning of creation, God has shown what these are like by all he has made. That is why all people are without excuse." God really does exist. Just look around you.

Does God really care about me?

God sure does care about you! He loves you more than anyone else ever could. Did you know that there is nothing you can do to make God love you less, and nothing you can do to make God love you more? Do you know anyone else in your life or in this world who offers that kind of love? And do you know what? God loves you so much that even though you are a sinner, He sent his Son to die for your sins so that you don't have to! (John 3:16) All you have to do is accept God's forgiveness in your life and believe that Jesus is your Savior, and that's it! You can be saved too. In fact, God desires very greatly to have a relationship with you. If you don't believe me... just ask him. He'll show you.

Does God really want to get to know me?

God desires very much to have a personal relationship with you, that's why He created you! God actually knows you right now better than you know yourself, even if you don't know Him. The book of Psalms says that He knit you together in your mother's womb, and He knows the very number of hairs on your head. (Psalm 139) That's how good God knows you already. Now it's your turn to try and get to know Him better.

If God loves people sooo much, than why does He send people to Hell?

Good question, and a very tough one to understand - and answer. How can a God who is all about "Love" end up doing such an unloving thing? One of things we often do when we think about God is isolate aspects of his character. An example is this very question. We see God as loving and even Love itself (God is Love), and we get so focused on his Love that we forget about his other qualities or characteristics. God is not limited to being simply a "loving being" (that would be more like Santa Claus or a teddy bear) but He is also all about justice and holiness (Holy, Holy, Holy!!!) and mercy and righteousness and so on. If we try to view God from a bigger perspective by including his other qualities, we are more likely to have a better understanding of who he is, what he does, and why does it. We also must realize that our definition of love is very much influenced by the world we live in. It is very hard for us to understand what real and true love is (the kind that God possesses... see Romans 5:8).

The first chapter of the book of Romans also tells us that all humans are without excuse when it comes to God because God's invisible qualities, power, and divine nature are clearly seen through his creation itself. That means that all of us have been given a choice to make. We can choose to accept His plan of salvation and go to
Heaven, or we can choose to reject that plan and go to Hell. It's as simple as that.
The choice is yours. You are the one who is responsible to make that decision. Jesus
said that now is the time of salvation. Don't harden your heart and turn away from
Him. Choose now to live with him forever.

Does becoming a Christian mean I won't have fun anymore?

Are you crazy? You won't know what real fun is until you have the ultimate high of having Jesus in your life! The world offers a lot things that are fun or at least seem to be fun. But do you know what? The fun that world offers does not last. It is only for a short season. Suddenly you'll wake one day and wonder what happened to your life. Where did you go wrong? God offers us a joy that cannot be matched by the world in any way, shape or form. It's amazing how God can transform even the most miserable person into a person with everything to live for and who is filled with joy.

My friends want me to come to their parties and hang out with them. They know I'm a Christian and that I choose not to drink at parties, but they want me to go anyway. What do I do?

Tough choices are coming your way. It sounds like (or I hope that) the reason you want to go is because you care about your friends spiritual lives. You may think that it is important for you to be with them so that you can stand up for Christ in the middle of temptation or show Christ's love to them in some way; however, it is very dangerous to your own spiritual health to attend these parties. You can still show Christ's love to them in many other ways while at school, playing games, or just hanging out with them elsewhere. If you think that you are strong enough to withstand the peer pressure and the attractive lifestyle that is associated with partying, you are deceiving yourself and are a prime candidate to fall into all sorts of temptation that can be found at parties (getting drunk is just one of the many!). Read Ephesians 5:8-18. Paul tells us that the follower of Christ should not have anything to do with deeds that are done in the darkness (he is referring to sinful acts). The choice is yours, but I would strongly suggest that you find alternative methods of sharing Christ's love with your friends.

When you have a girlfriend or a boyfriend how far is too far and where does God draw the line?

This is a question that is tough to answer briefly; however, I'll give it a shot. The physical aspect of a relationship between a guy and a girl who like each other can be very strong. There is mystery, curiosity, strong feelings, strong urges, and extremely strong forces that make the physical aspect of a relationship very attractive. Watch out! There are forces at work that you can't see and that you have no control over (not just spiritual, but also hormonal). The problem with being physical in a relationship is that you are working towards something that you should not finish, and once you reach a certain point, you cannot retreat. You will always return to that point. Here are some questions you need to ask yourself:

  1. Does the person I am dating have the same moral standards as me?
  2. Does my relationship with my boy/girlfriend honour God?
  3. Are my (and my friend's) motives pure?

If you answered "no" to any of these questions, you should rethink your relationship. So, where should you draw the line? I'm afraid the decision must be yours. The Bible does not give us a boundary that we can go to, rather it only gives us the final destination that we should not go to. However, God does give us lots of guidelines we can follow. We need to flee temptation (1Cor 10:14) and not put ourselves in spots where we may fall into sin (Heb 12:1-3). God also warns us not awaken the process of love exchange until the appropriate time... marriage (SofS 2:7). God also wants us to honour him with our bodies (Rom 6:13). Remember that your body is not going to help you out on this; in fact, it is going to try and betray you with it's sinful desires (Jam 1:14). Two important things you must do:

  1. Set boundaries that you MUST NOT cross; and
  2. Make sure you are accountable to someone who would be very disappointed in you if you broke your boundary.
I just found out my cousin is into Wicca. I talked to her about it when I found out and tried to figure out why she chose that lifestyle. At the end, I read her a passage from the Bible and she seemed to understand, but I'm not sure if she's telling me the truth. I'm very scared that she won't live a very good life if she chooses a life of Wicca and stuff. I'm really afraid that she's gunna wake up one day and be depressed and alone and... have no one to turn to. So my question is: What should I do? I'm sorry if this is an inappropriate question. I don't know if it is or not.

First of all, there are no inappropriate questions. Please feel free to ask any questions that you might have concerning any issue. Your friend is about to enter into the very dangerous world of occult; a world that once you're in, is almost impossible to get out. It sounds like she is desperately seeking for acceptance and something that she can believe in and give herself to. Wicca is not what she is searching for even though it may seem to offer her what she wants. What she doesn't realize is that she will be getting into a lot more than she bargained for. What you're cousin really needs is to meet someone who accepts her just the way she is and will love her no matter what. Of course, there is only one person who offers this... Jesus. The first thing (and most important) you must do is pray for her. God is far more powerful than any evil force and He offers us what we really need. I think that you have done the right thing by warning her and reading the Bible with her, but I also think that you need to warn her that she is about to make a choice that will affect her for the rest of her life. Hopefully she is not too heavily involved yet, but if she is, it will be hard for her to see the truth. Keep praying. Remember, the final choice will be hers, so please do not feel that you are responsible in any way if she continues in Wicca.

Are there verses in the Bible that talk about how Christians are to evangelize? If so, what are some of them?

The Bible is actually filled with situations and examples of how we need to and how we can share our faith with others. There are many places that tell us that evangelism (or sharing our faith with others) is an essential part of being a follower of Christ. The "Great Commission" (Matthew 28:18-20) is just one of many places that Christians are commanded to share their faith with others. We are also called to shine as lamps to the world (Matthew 5:14-16). But how can we do it? Well, the Bible shows us many different ways:

  1. It's important to always start with prayer (1Peter 4:7; Ephesians 6:18; Philippians 4:6). Remember, without our knowing it, God is building foundations in the lives of friends, acquaintances, or strangers that we may come in contact with.
  2. Realize that God loves the lost (Luke 15).
  3. Be authentic, natural, personal, truthful and loving (1Corinthians 16:14).
  4. Be vocal about what you believe - don't hide it (Romans 10:14).
  5. Leading a specific person to Christ may not finish with you, God can use others too, so don't lose heart! Instead, rejoice that God has used you to bring that person closer to salvation (1Corinthians 3:6).

Here are a few styles of evangelism. See which one appeals to you the most and try it. Try them all if you want!

  • Confrontational: (Acts 2:14-40 *Peter). When using this style, be careful that you are not abrasive or offensive in your behaviour (1 Peter 3:15).
  • Intellectual: (Acts 17:15-32 *Paul). Be careful not to be argumentative (2Timothy 2:16).
  • Invitational: (John 4:7-42 *Jesus). Be prepared to answer people when they ask you about your faith (1Peter 3:15). That means you need to know your Bible!
  • Service: (Acts 9:36 *Dorcas). But remember, just as words can't replace actions, actions are no substitute for words. We must be verbal too (Roman 10:14).

Evangelism is a gift from God, so ask Him for help (1Corinthians 12:7 & 1Peter 4:10). There is much more about evangelism than this in the Bible, but hopefully this will give you a good start.

If you want to read some good books about how to share your faith, ask Pastor Chris. Here are some you might be interested in: Paul Little - " How To Give Away Your Faith" & Bill Hybels - "Becoming A Contagious Christian".

Should I hang out with people who do not really share the same "interest" in God as me, even if he or she is a nice person? If that person did something immoral, told you about it, was truly sorry about it, what would be the Christian thing to do?

This is a question that many Christians have struggled with a lot; in fact, I have at times in the past agonized over this dilemma. What type of person do I want to hang out with and spend my time with? I think it is important to realize two things:

  • First, it is important to have friends who not only believe the same things you do, but also have the same desire to practice those beliefs as you do. The Bible warns us to beware of people who say that they believe, but whose lives do not back this up. In fact, Paul in 1 Corinthians 5:9-13 says that we are not to even associate with someone who professes to be a follower of Christ but who is "sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a person do not even eat." (v.11).
  • Second, it is important to be around people and have friends who don't believe. Basically this means that you should not spend all your time hanging out with other Christians. You'll notice that in the same passage Paul says that he is not talking about being with immoral people who are not believers (v.10). How could we ever share our faith with anyone if we are not in contact with non-believers?

So, how does all this relate to your situation? Well, if your friend professes to be a follower of Jesus, but isn't interested in actually being a follower of Jesus, you need to decide whether or not it is healthy to spend a lot of time together. If your friend is a believer and has repented from their immoral act, then it is not up to you to judge them for it. You are not responsible for that person's forgiveness. Only God is. Paul is focusing on the person who doesn't care that their actions are immoral and who continues to live immorally.

My question is why would this person feel sorry about being immoral if they don't believe? This may be a question you can use to help you share the gospel with your friend if he or she is not yet a believer. If you feel that you would like to talk to me a little more about this, then please call me or come and see me at the church. I would love to talk to you about it some more.

Should we love Satan if God tells us to love everybody as much as we love ourselves?

Wow. That's quite a question. I think it is important to understand what Jesus was referring to when He spoke the words "love your neighbour as yourself" (Matt 22:39) and "love your enemies and do good to those who hate you" (Luke 6:27). In these texts Jesus is specifically talking about loving "people" and not spiritual beings; in fact, the only spiritual being that God commands us to love is Himself. There is no where (please correct me if I'm wrong) in the Bible that says we are to love angels, demons, or any other spirit - whether good or evil. Of course, there is no where that tells us we should hate them either. However, Paul tells us in Ephesians 6:12 that "our struggle is not against flesh and blood [people], 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." The rulers, authorities, and powers refer to spiritual forces at work here on the earth. These evil forces are our true enemies, not other human beings. This is one reason why we are commanded to love other people, even if they seem to be our enemies, because they really are not our true enemies. I guess when it's all said and done we should neither love Satan nor hate him, but rather we should concentrate on loving God and sharing that love with those (people) around us.

When did the star appear, before or after Jesus was born? Did the wise men follow the star after he was born or did it lead them to him in time for his birth?

The story of the Magi is in Matthew 2:1-12. Contrary to popular belief, the Wise men, Magi or Scholars (whatever you want to call them) did not visit Jesus in the manger on the night of his birth. Actually, they visited him in his mother and father's house (v.11). Since it is most likely that the star appeared on the night of Jesus' birth, it would have been the first chance for the Scholars to have seen the star. It is believed that the Scholars came from the "far east" and would have followed the star or travelled for many months before seeing Herod in Jerusalem. From Jerusalem they learned that the "King of the Jews" was to be born in Bethlehem (v.5), so they journeyed there to find this king. While they were in Jerusalem, Herod asked them about the exact time that the star appeared (v.7). Although the answer is not given in the text, it is assumed that it was under 2 years because Herod promptly ordered all the babies under 2 years of age in Bethlehem to be killed when the Scholars did not return(v.16).
Kind of a little sidebar... We don't know how many Scholars actually visited Jesus. It is often assumed there were 3 because 3 gifts were offered; however, this is definitely not conclusive evidence of their number. Also, contrary to traditional beliefs, the men were not actually kings (NIV Commentary).

How do we know if an idea we have is one that God has put in our hearts or if it's one we have put in our own heads?

Good question. I often wonder about this myself, but tough to answer considering that I have no idea what your idea is! I guess the best way to find out whether a thought or an idea is from God or ourselves is to test it out. Here are some questions you should ask yourself... Is my idea consistent with what the Bible teaches? If your idea goes against what the Bible teaches, then it's probably not from God. Is my idea pleasing to God? If not, then no good! What do people whom I trust think about my idea? Sometimes the best way to see if your idea is from God is to ask someone you trust and respect in order to hear what they think about it. If your idea passes these 3 tests, there's a good chance it's from God; however, a lot of our ideas (maybe most) do not fit nicely in this little box. I encourage you to talk to someone about it.

Is all knowledge God's knowledge?

Hmmmm... I'm not sure where you're coming from on this one, but since all knowledge originated from God, I guess it's all his! We know that God knew " good and evil" because the serpent used this to deceive Eve into thinking that she would be just like God if she ate the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If all knowledge is God's, then knowledge is also infinite, just like God. However, this does not mean that all knowledge is healthy for you. God knows all, but for our own sanity, we don't! Had Eve not eaten from the tree, she would not have known about evil, and that would have been a good thing! There are many things that our frail human minds cannot comprehend as well as some things that can really get us mixed up. A good example is that there are things about the occult that I don't ever really want to know. Just because knowledge originally came from God, does not mean that man (and the enemy) has not been able to corrupt it and use it for evil purposes. I'm not sure if this answers your question. If you could email me more details, that would be great!

I have 2 questions. First: Who/what created evil? (If it was the "chaos" that there was before God created the universe, then where did that come from?) And the second is: If God is perfect, how could he make something imperfect?

Wow! Great questions. These questions are linked so I will answer them together. We know that God did not create evil because everything that God created was "good" (read the creation account in Genesis 1). Even Satan was originally created good! Also, God did not create anything that was imperfect. The original creation (including humans and angels) was perfect. So then, where did evil come from and why are we no longer perfect? Well, when God created us, he created in us the ability to think and decide things for ourselves. Had he not given us the ability to make our own choices, we would have been created as robots. That was not part of God's plan. He created us in his own image and that image includes the ability to make choices. Unfortunately, Adam and Eve made a choice to disobey God, and that is why they could not stay in their perfect state. If God had not created in us the "potential" to do evil, we would be unable to disobey him, and as I stated before, we would just be liked programmed robots walking around. As for the origin of evil... evil was already present during creation in the form of the fallen angel, Satan. He was also created with this potential to make choices and he too made a very wrong decision to disobey God. Evil was introduced by Satan because of this disobedience. Satan, however, was unable to infect creation with his evilness until after Adam and Eve sinned. He was responsible for deceiving Eve, but he could not ruin God's creation until after humans sinned against God. I hope this answers your question. If not, come talk to me about it. I can probably explain it better in person.

Dear forum, I need to ask for some help with life. I am in a type do low grade depression and I can't find a way to get any enjoyment out of school, home, or even playing sports. I am doing daily devotions and praying, not only for my self, but still I am in depression and I am not able to get out of it. How do I get out of it.? ( this has been going for a year and a half)

This is a very hard question to answer online. Come and see me, we should talk. Depression is caused by a number of things. It could be spiritual, physical, mental, or many other things. Unfortunately, there is not a quick fix solution to depression. The only advice that I can offer is of the spiritual nature (which may or may not be of help to you). I believe that depression is often caused by the pressure that we put on ourselves to " succeed" in today's world. Teenagers carry this incredible burden of having to do well in school, sports, church, and at home. They wrestle with being responsible, being popular, being accepted, being liked, and being attractive to the opposite sex. They are expected to be good students, good Christians, good examples, good witnesses, and good brothers, sisters, sons, or daughters. And not only that, teenagers are going through extreme changes in their bodies, their minds, their hormones, their spirits, and many other areas. Top this off with the pressure of finding what you want to do with your life and with the unknown future and wham... the burden is incredibly heavy. However, if you are a follower of Christ, these are not burdens that are yours to carry. I cannot imagine having to carry all of the things that I have just mentioned (and those are only a small part of the complete burden). Can you? This is why the Bible tells us to "cast all our cares on Jesus". He can take it. We can't, nor are we supposed to. We need to continually trust God with our present and our future. If you refuse to give everything over to God, then you must accept the fact that depression and worry will be the result. This question actually came at an interesting time. I will be talking about this kind of stuff at our youth service this week.

I am wondering about speaking in tongues and things like being filled with the Holy Spirit. I know some churches are very into it. Is it a real thing? Like say if you do start speaking in weird language or get filled with the Spirit and start acting weird, is it something that comes from God or is demonic? How would we know the difference? My friend goes to a church that is very into all that stuff and he's invited me a few times to come. I'm worried about getting into something that isn't Holy and from God.

Speaking in tongues has been a much debated topic over the years, and there are many different opinions about it, so I will try to be brief even though there is much to say. Basically, the Bible explains "tongues" or the ability to speak in a foreign language without previously knowing that language, as a gift from God and a "sign, not for believers, but unbelievers" in 1 Corinthians 14:22. The first evidence in the Bible of the gift of tongues is found Acts 2 (also known as Pentecost). The disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in languages that they did not know before. At the time they were in Jerusalem which was a center for foreign trade during those days. This means that there would have been many people from foreign countries there. The Bible says that each person was able to hear and understand the gospel message in their own language and many people believed the message about Jesus and were saved. Thus we see the first gift of tongues used in a manner that is consistent with what Paul says about being a "sign to unbelievers".
    Paul, in 1 Cor 14, also gives us instructions on how to use the gift of tongues properly. He says that 2 or at most 3 should speak and one at a time. There must also be an interpreter present otherwise, in the words of Paul, "the speaker should keep quiet in the church and speak to himself and God" (v.28). If it is not done this way, who's to know whether the words spoken in the tongue are from God? This is why it is important to follow the instructions given to us in Scripture on how to use this gift. Speaking in tongues is a wonderful gift, but it needs to used properly if it is to glorify God.
    Many people have equated speaking in tongues with being filled with the Spirit. This is only partially true. Tongues are a gift that can be given to a believer when they are filled with the Holy Spirit, but it is not THE sign of this filling. There are many gifts that believers can receive when they are filled with the Holy Spirit, not just the gift of tongues. In fact, in 1 Cor 12:4-11, Paul lists a whole bunch of different gifts that are given by the Spirit. He says...

4There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men.

7Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues.11All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines. (NIV)

So we see that God gives different gifts to different people when they are filled with the Spirit in order that we can all make up different parts of the body (or the church). God desires us all to have different gifts, not all the same gifts. If you want to learn about what the Bible says about tongues and other gifts, read 1 Corinthians 12 and 14. Both chapters explain the gifts of the Holy Spirit very well. I would say that the best evidence that people are filled with the Holy Spirit is not by any one gifting alone, but rather by the way they live their lives.

In the end people can argue all they want about what the filling of the Holy Spirit means and what happens when a person is filled, but the important part is that a person is filled with the Holy Spirit. Being filled with the Spirit is a wonderful and amazing thing that our church believes very strongly in and one that I would encourage you to pursue.

Dear forum I am writing this to ask if healing does exist as it did in the Old Testament. I am aware of gods’ hand on believers and unbelievers but does god just heal people who ask for healing. In the New Testament it says ask and it shall be given. I also know that Jesus died on the cross not only for my sins but for my body pain whether it would be sickness or bad body wise. But how do I open up my self for healing when I know god does give it? What’s the next step to take?

Ah yes, the issue of healing. In our denomination there is a very big emphasis placed on Jesus as being our "Healer". We believe very strongly that Jesus both has the power to heal and that he uses that power to heal people today. The Bible says in the book of Isaiah that it is " by his (Jesus') stripes you are healed". So we see that Christ's death on the cross does have an aspect of healing in it. Many would say that this "healing" referred to by Isaiah is only a spiritual healing, not a physical healing of our earthly bodies. What I mean by spiritual healing is that since the time Adam and Eve sinned in the garden, humans have had a sickness called sin that has separated us from God. Jesus' death and resurrection has provided healing from this and our spiritual lives have received healing through the forgiveness of sin. I believe this, but I also believe that Isaiah meant healing in all areas, not just our spirits. That means physical, mental, and emotional healing as well.

To answer your question, I think it is important to first realize that as a Christian, your life is dedicated to the glory of God. Secondly, it is important to know that the Bible tells us in James 5 that if we are sick, we should ask the elders to pray for us to be healed. So we see that God expects us to ask. However, the answer is not automatically what we would like to see every time. God's plans and his desires are more important than our plans and desires, and a believer must be willing to accept the answer that God gives. Having this attitude in itself will result in incredible healing and spiritual growth in your life, even if the affliction for which you are asking God to heal is not healed. God's answer to the apostle Paul when he asked for God to remove the thorn in his flesh was "my grace is sufficient for you". Paul accepted this answer because he trusted that God knew better than he about what he needed. We must remember that God is not our personal genie and we should not treat him like one. Just because he desires us to ask him for things like healing, does not mean he is bound to do our bidding. For the believer, it is important to have this in mind when we ask God for healing: it is God's will that we truly desire to be done, not ours. If he heals us, we praise him for his kindness and accept his healing as act of mercy. If God chooses not to heal us, we praise him for his goodness and accept the fact that his grace is sufficient for us.

How do I accept God's forgiveness?

Accepting God's forgiveness is directly related to believing what God says is true. Often, when someone forgives us for something, we still deal with guilty feelings and shame or embarrassment of our actions. Is it possible to accept another person's forgiveness if you are still dealing with guilt? I would say " yes" because another person's forgiveness is not dependant on the way you feel afterward; rather it is entirely dependant on what is true. You may still feel guilty even though you have already been forgiven. There are only a couple of possibilities if you feel you cannot accept someone's forgiveness. Either you believe that the person was just being fake and didn't really forgive you or it's yourself that you haven't forgiven. If you actually believe that you have been forgiven and you have forgiven yourself, you will not be deceived by guilty feelings. With people forgiving people, it is entirely possible for someone to say they forgive you, but really they do not; however, with God's forgiveness, it is a sure thing. If you believe what God says is true, then you are forgiven. Whether you feel like you're forgiven or not makes no difference to whether you actually have been forgiven. God promises us in 1 John 1:9 that "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness". Your guilty feelings are not from God, they are from the enemy. You see the enemy's greatest and most powerful weapon is deceit, and if he can deceive a follower of Christ that they are not forgiven, he can cause them much pain and guilt; however, if you believe what God says is true (in this case God says that you are forgiven), then who are you going to trust, God or Satan?

If you say, "yes I know God has forgiven me, but I still don't know how to accept it", then I would say that you need to forgive yourself for making a mistake. Pride is the enemy here and is directly related to loving yourself too much. We have to accept the fact that we will make mistakes (some of them will probably be very bad and embarrassing) and lower our pride enough to forgive ourselves for not being perfect.

I would like to know how to accept being persecuted. The Bible says (not in these exact words) that you will persecuted because Jesus was and since you love him and the world hates him, the world will also hate you. But is there a line were you draw between being persecuted and down right stupid joking and mockery of ones self esteem and way of life? And how do you stand up for your self if you're always turning the other cheek? I know I shouldn't beat the person up who is mocking and pushing me but were is the line?

You are right in saying that the Bible has promised that those who follow Jesus will be persecuted for his sake; in fact, it was Jesus who actually said this in the gospel of John (15:18-25). Persecution is one of the weapons the enemy uses to try and destroy God's work in someone's life, and being made fun of by others is just one of the methods he uses to try and destroy a Christian's self-esteem. It can get very difficult to continually face ridicule from people because you are a Christian, especially at school. However, persecution can also be the tool with which we grow stronger in our faith. It all depends on how we react to it. If we start believing the lies that people say about us, then persecution and mockery can be an effective tool of the enemy to destroy us and consequently, our self-esteem is smashed down and we feel defeated. However, if we continue to believe the truth about who we are in Christ (we are sons of the Father who are destined for eternal life and and an inheritance with Christ among other truths) and we fight off the lies of the enemy with God's truth (found in the Bible), then persecution backfires on the enemy and we become stronger in our faith.

How do we deal with the constant mockery of others? Well, it's not easy. You first must realize that our fight is not against other people. God says in Ephesians 6:10-18 that our fight is against the devil, his evil schemes, and other spiritual powers, not other people. Satan may use other people to hurt us, but if we recognize that he is behind it, we are better able to stand up against his lies and evil schemes. Jesus also tells us to love our enemies and pray for those who are persecuting us (Matt 5:43-48). This sounds really strange, but it helps us to realize who our fight is really against and more importantly, it helps us to continue to love even when it is extremely difficult.

So where is the line? Well, I'm not sure. There really isn't a line that we can say "that's enough". Persecution doesn't work that way. That is why it is absolutely essential ask God about all of these things and try and show people love no matter how hard it may be. Make sure you read through the Scripture passages listed in this response and if you have more questions, come and see me.

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