Life Challenges

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Suicide, Heaven, and Eternal Destiny

Is there any hope in the world to come for those who take their own lives? Our entire extended family is reeling under a horrendous burden of pain, guilt, and confusion. My nephew – a college-bound high school senior, honor student, accomplished athlete, and respected leader of his church youth group – recently committed suicide. In addition to our grief, which is nearly overwhelming, we're struggling with agonizing questions about the fate of this young man's soul. Somewhere I heard that suicide is an "unforgivable sin," and that those who kill themselves have no chance of getting into heaven. Is that true?

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Ideas for Church Outreach to Victims of Trauma and Tragedy

How can our church minister most effectively to victims of disaster and trauma? I'm the pastor of a small congregation in a mid-size town. Over the past month our community has been devastated by a terrible flood. Many families in this area have endured the loss of their homes, interruption of work and school, loss of income, physical deprivation, and overwhelming anxiety about the future. What can we do as the Body of Christ to address some of these needs?

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Spiritual Concerns About Claiming Tithe As a Tax Deduction

Should I claim what I donate to God and the church as a deduction on my income tax? How would this fit in with what Jesus says about giving in secret?

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Why We Give: Right Reasons for Christian Giving

Where does giving fit in with wise financial planning? These days it seems that pastors, churches and ministries are constantly asking for my money. In the process, they're always talking about the importance of giving and telling me that it's a crucial part of the Christian life. I'm not sure I buy this argument. What's your perspective?

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Business Partnerships between Christians and Non-Christians

Would it be wrong for a Christian to go into business with an unbeliever? I'm thinking about doing so, but was wondering if it would be a case of being "unequally yoked" (2 Corinthians 6:14)?

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Including Charities in a Will

Is it a good idea to have provisions in my will for charitable bequests?

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Estate Planning Basics

What are some biblical principles to keep in mind as I begin writing up my will? I'd like to know that when I'm gone my financial assets will be used in the best and wisest way possible to benefit my family and advance the work of God's kingdom. Any tips or pointers?

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Biblical Perspective on Debt

What do the Scriptures say about people who find themselves owing a lot of money? Like most of our friends, my husband and I are carrying a certain amount of debt. Does this place us completely outside the will of God?

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Contentment vs. the Love of Money

What does the Bible mean when it says that "godliness with contentment is great gain" (1 Timothy 6:6)? How do I apply this to the way I manage my finances? And why does Paul go on to state that "the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil?"

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Biblical Principles and Perspectives About Money

What are some biblical principles and guidelines that will help me understand God's perspective on money and finances?

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Four Stages of Drug Addiction: Recognizing the Signs

What are the progressive stages of drug addiction, especially as it plays out in the life of a teenager? My oldest son has been exhibiting some strange behavior lately, and I'm worried that he may be getting involved with some form of drug abuse. Can you provide me with any helpful hints and clues?

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Discerning the Signs of Alcoholism in a Loved One

What are the tell-tale signs of alcoholism? I'm worried about my husband, but I'm not sure if I have grounds for insisting that he do something about his drinking. When football season comes around, it's five months of him and his friends sitting in front of the TV drinking beer. That doesn't happen every night, of course. In fact, one of his key defenses is that they only drink on weekends and during the games. He says it's just "guy time" – a chance to take a break from work, get together with friends, and show loyalty to their favorite team. He also maintains that they never really get drunk – just "buzzed." As he sees it, it's just part of being a fan to have a few drinks with the game. What do you think?

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Am I an alcoholic?

Can you help me understand whether I have a serious problem with alcohol? Here's my situation. I'm a hassled and harried mother of three young children. After school, I pick up my kids and go to the market, where I have to rush to grab a few things and get out of the store before the kids have a meltdown. Then we hurry home and I try to start dinner while helping with homework. Meanwhile, the laundry is piling up and the house is a mess. When my husband comes home, I get a glass of wine and sit down to dinner to unwind. But instead of enjoying a relaxing meal I find myself cutting up the kids' food, pouring drinks, serving my husband, and trying to talk to him about his day. Then the kids need a bath, homework has to be checked, and lunches have to be packed. By bedtime I need another glass of wine to calm down. Some nights I just lie in bed with the television on and have another drink or two to get sleepy, but this doesn't happen very often. Do you think I'm an alcoholic?

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Alcoholic Seeking Help

Do you have any assistance to offer to someone who seriously wants to stop drinking? Where do I find the professional help I need? I'm desperate to overcome my problem with alcohol, but hard experience has convinced me that I can't beat this addiction on my own. Now my wife is threatening to take our children and leave, and to make matters worse, I just got a warning from my employer about missing too much work. What should I do?

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Spouse Struggles With Drug Abuse

Where do I turn for help with my spouse's problem with substance abuse and drug addiction? It has had a devastating impact on our marriage and family, and I feel as if I've just about reached the end of my rope.

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Finding Freedom From Addiction Through Faith in God

How can I trust God enough to be released from drug and alcohol abuse? I once heard a Christian speaker who had suffered from addictions describe how he found healing when he turned his life over to God. I've prayed for this, but I guess I'm not trying hard enough or don't really know what it means. How can I really give my heart to Him?

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Dealing With an Alcoholic Spouse

How can I help my spouse overcome an addiction to alcohol? She's "given up drinking" several times only to soon end up back on the bottle. She's lost her job, our household is a mess, and the whole family is slowly going to pieces. What can I do to turn things around?

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Hopeless, Feels Like a Loser

How can a loser like me ever be happy? I hate myself for who and what I am. I hate myself for the laundry that's not done, for the dirty socks and clothes on the floor, for a bunch of clean and unfolded clothes, for dirty dishes all over the house. I feel like the filthiest person in the world. My love life is a mess, too. I feel broken. I don't deserve to be happy, and even if I were, I'm afraid someone would show up and remind me about my past and how awful I've been and everyone would hate me again. Can you help me?

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Pregnant, Scared, and Overwhelmed

Can you help me deal with the debilitating emotions that have swept over me since finding out that I'm going to have a baby? I just learned that I'm pregnant, and I feel scared, alone, and completely overwhelmed. So far I haven't yet shared this with anyone. What do you think I should do?

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Overcoming Eating Disorders

Can you help me deal with the starving, binging, and purging problem I've had ever since I was a teen? Thoughts of food rarely leave my mind. My body weight has become an idol. I feel guilty, shamed, and dirty. How can I change?

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Book Recommendations on Mental Health

Can you direct me to any good books addressing mental health problems from a Christian perspective?

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Dealing With the Practical Aspects of a Spouse's Death

Can you help me cope with the practical, day-to-day aspects of my spouse's death? I'm already seeing a therapist, and close friends are helping me work through the grief. Where I really need some guidance is in the area of business details, daily responsibilities, house repairs, car maintenance, paying bills – that sort of thing. Decisions about little things of this nature are about to do me in. Do you have any helpful advice for me?

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Christians and Social Gambling

How does God view social gambling between friends? My buddies and I enjoy getting together for a game of poker now and then. Everybody who knows anything about the game understands that it's just not the same if it doesn't include a real risk of some kind, however small. How do you feel about Christians playing games of chance and betting a nickel, a dime, a quarter, maybe a dollar at times? Is God okay with that?

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How to Help a Compulsive Gambler

How can I come alongside a compulsive gambler and encourage him to take steps to overcome his addiction? After observing my husband's behavior, seeking out the opinions of pastors and friends, and researching the issue on my own, I've come to the conclusion that he has a serious problem in this area. I'd like to help him if possible, but I have no idea where to begin. Can you offer any advice?

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