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Question and Answer

I’ve always been a guy who sought affirmation. Growing up was tough; my dad and I never could see eye to eye. Ultimately I ended up leaving home and rejecting my family for several years. My life morally was terrible. I came back to God, but I still feel invisible to people. I got into Facebook and I post regularly, but nobody comments. How can I feel affirmed?

All of us want to feel like we are appreciated, that we have a raison d’etre. And when we don’t feel like we have it, we seek it. Everybody wants to be appreciated. Obviously, how we treat others is vital. Facebook can be a great way to keep posted on our friends and relatives. But it’s not where relationships usually begin. Most of the people I know who seek love and belonging have found it first in loving others by acts of kindness. Once you move from filling a vacuum in your own life to helping others be all that God wants them to be, your search for affirmation dissipates. When you focus on others and helping them in their times of crisis, suddenly you feel life is definitely worthwhile.
I work in a large company and am one of very few women in engineering. I’m younger than most of my coworkers and yet have experienced upward mobility in a very short time. We divide into “think groups” to create new ideas or amplify old ones. It seems that someone criticizes almost every idea I bring up. I often go home discouraged and find it difficult to feel good about going back to work the next day. How do I handle my frustration and discouragement as a Christian?

One of the things I’ve learned in life is that suffering, which can include criticism, comes to us all. If we expect it, we won’t be surprised by it! How we react to it determines the kind of day we’ll have. Over time we’ll discover that every circumstance can teach us something. Otherwise, we can become bitter and implode emotionally if we don’t trust God’s Word and believe that these things work for our good (see Rom. 8:28).
Is trouble that comes into our lives a sign of punishment from God?

I believe that the Bible does not teach that all trouble is a sign of punishment. As a matter of fact, Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). When trouble does come our way, it’s good to examine our lives to see if there is an offense against God in our lives (see Ps. 139:24). While God often chastens those He loves, it certainly is not punishment, but He disciplines us as a way of changing our conduct (see John 15:2). God warned Israel many times that their conduct was an embarrassment to Him before the other nations, and they would be punished. Israel’s exile to Babylon was an example of a horrific judgment on God’s chosen people.

Scripture gives us other examples of trouble and suffering, however. Job was a righteous, faithful man who experienced tremendous, heartbreaking trouble. In the book of Acts, the disciples suffered greatly because they were faithful to Christ. After being flogged for testifying about Jesus, “the apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name” (Acts 5:41). Clearly this trouble was not a punishment from God! It will take wisdom and sensitivity to the conviction of the Holy Spirit for us to know the difference between His discipline in our lives and other reasons why we experience sorrow and trials.

I’ve always believed that we are saved by grace not works, but Jesus’ instruction to the rich young ruler is confusing. The ruler asks, “What do I have to do to inherit eternal life.” Jesus says, “Then love your neighbor as yourself.” What does Jesus mean?

The Lord Jesus was not saying that keeping the commandments and loving your neighbor would save you, no matter what some people infer from Mathew 19. Actually most translators suggest that Jesus was asking two questions. First, Do you think by calling me good, that I am divine? The young man’s response was no. Second, Jesus asked, Can you meet the requirements of being good?, and man answered that he had kept all the commandments. Jesus told him that keeping the law includes loving others as well—and that was something this man had never demonstrated in his obedience to God. When Jesus challenged the rich young man to give away all that he had, he went away sad because he had a lot. But even if he could keep all the law and love others it would never be enough. Salvation and eternal life come only from belief in Jesus Christ the Son of God.
You always knew what was on Peter’s mind. What do you think of his personality?

I think Peter was impulsive. When Jesus was transfigured and Moses and Elijah appeared with Him, Peter said they should build some kind of a memorial to the vision. During Jesus’ arrest, Peter intervened by slicing off a servant’s ear. When accused by a servant girl of being part of Jesus’ crowd, Peter swore and denied it. After Jesus’ resurrection and Peter’s conversation with Him in John 21, Peter’s boldness was transformed. In Acts he was one of the primary preachers of the gospel, willing to suffer for the name of Jesus.

BY Mike Kellogg

Mike Kellogg worked with Moody Radio for more than 40 years, beginning in 1972. For many years he was the reader on Continued Story and began hosting Music Thru the Night in 1982. He also read the Today in the Word devotional for Moody Radio for many years. In July 2014, Mike retired from full-time radio. He is a graduate of Cedarville University, and has served as adjunct faculty in English and Speech Communications at Moody Bible Institute. He is married to Nancy, and they have 6 children and 16 grandchildren.

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