Wednesday, 13-Jul-2016

Will your dog, cat, horse, etc. be in heaven?

Animals are important to God, just like they are important to us. Sue lost her dog and we feel sorry for her. Emotional ties between humans and animals can be very strong, and when strong ties break, our heart breaks also. Is there hope Sue will see her dog again in heaven?

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Thoughts and words are the currency of the spirit

What makes mankind different from animals? It is our God-given ability to think rationally and communicate verbally. How, then, should we think and speak?

The Gospel

The Bible Gospel message is very simple: God loves you so much that He died for you on a cross, gaining victory over sin and hell on your behalf.

This good news is found throughout the Bible, in both Old and New Testaments. A concise summary appears in I Corinthians 15:3 and 4, the Apostle Paul speaking:

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures

Sometimes human teachers take away from the Gospel saying, for instance, that our sin is not the reason Jesus died. More often they add rules and regulations to it, furthering their own agendas. But the true Gospel is very simple, and believing it brings new life.

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Pending Questions

Henrietta Estes asks: Why was man allowed to eat meat after the flood? Sourthern Baptist active member of a congregation.
Question about A General Question: Meaning of a passage
Motivation - Curiosity: Idle curiosity; Guidance: Not sure, confused
Bible view - The Word of God - [question 238, Monday, 15-Aug-2016]

Is what we eat important to God? The answer is 'yes.' Many Bible passages deal with diet.

Henrietta's question involves whether or not God's prescribed diet was different before and after the Flood. There are two definitive scripture passages which may indicate 'herbivore before, omnivore after' status:

and to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the sky and to every thing that moves on the earth which has life, I have given every green plant for food - Genesis 1:30 NASB

every moving thing that is alive shall be food for you; I give all to you, as I gave the green plant. - Genesis 9:3 NASB

The Genesis 1 passage before the Flood indicates herbivore, and the Genesis 9 passage after the Flood indicates omnivore. But there is a difference between the two passages. One is explicit, the other is only implied. The Bible states explicitly that both plants and animals are given for food after the Flood (Genesis 9). There is no question about that. However, strict vegetarianism is only implied, not explicitly stated, for the time before the Flood (Genesis 1). Were lions and tigers herbivores before the Flood? We do not know, nor should we care. It is a moot point.

Sometimes people use Genesis passages to give biblical credence to their vegetarian lifestyles. They are saying, basically, that eating vegetables is spiritually superior to eating meat. It is so easy for us to become proud and think of ourselves as superior to others. Of course, such thinking is completely anti-Bible. All people are equal before God. Don't be sucked into meaningless arguments about food and spiritual standing. Such arguments are traps.

(Note: When Jesus died He fulfilled the strict dietary laws of the Old Testament that involved clean and unclean food. Acts 10:10ff, Galatians 2:11ff)

People have argued about the connection between eating habits and proper standing before God since the earliest New Testament times. Romans 14 deals with these questions directly. It demands we not judge one another based on food:

One person has faith that he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats vegetables only. The one who eats is not to regard with contempt the one who does not eat, and the one who does not eat is not to judge the one who eats, for God has accepted him. - Romans 14:2ff NASB

Whether lions and tigers ate grass before the Flood is a meaningless question. But whether or not to judge other people is an extremely important question. Don't judge other people!

Chuck M asks: Why did Jesus have to suffer through the crucifixion to save man? Couldn't he have just allowed it to be? I don't understand why He who created all had to suffer for others; when being all powerful He could have chosen another path.
Question about Right and Wrong in the Bible: God's lawsA General Question: Character of God
Motivation - Curiosity: Sincere curiosity; Why, God?: Why did this happen?
Bible view - The Word of God - [question 235, Monday, 04-Jul-2016]

When you love someone, Chuck, you set them free. God loves mankind, so He set us free by letting us choose our own lifestyles. Theologians call it 'free will.' We have free will to live as we like, because God loves us:

Charity (love) suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; 1 Corinthians 13:4ff

So God 'vaunteth not' Himself, but loves us by creating us with our own free will. We can accept God or reject Him. I trust you accept Him.

In addition, the God of the Bible is a God of law and order. The law of gravity holds the universe together. The law of Sowing and Reaping (Galatians 6:7) says that you reap what you sow. Also, the law of Moses in the Bible requires the shedding of blood for sins to be forgiven:

For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul. Leviticus 17:11

Bound, then, by His own love for people, and by His own law of forgiveness, He shed His own blood so that anyone who exercises his or her own free will to believe in the Cross of Christ can obtain forgiveness of sin and enjoy personal fellowship with God.

The Bible rejects the idea of people marrying outside their faiths. Here's more information.

Dianne asks:

I am a 20 year old catholic girl in relationship with a 25 year old muslim boy. We have been in a relationship for about 3 years now. He wants us to get married in the future but deep down I don't want to, not because I don't love him, but because I ask myself quietly

When we have children I want them to be raised as true catholics.

We have discussed this in the past, but I have never expressed this desire. He wants our children to learn about both religions but choose for themselves when they are old enough.

He doesn't want me to convert to his religion and he wont convert either. He said if he converts it will only be done to keep my family happy but he will practice Islam. He thinks if he converts maybe there is a high chance that my family will accept him. But truth is I don't think my family will ever ever accept this. Since interfaith / caste / race marriage is a big no no in our country.

I always pray for him to know Christ. But he has very little about Christianity whatsoever. I know more or less everything about Islam.

I love him a lot but I am not even sure myself if I will go against my family beliefs and marry him at the end. I want to breakup but always I never try to do it, thinking about how much he will get hurt. I have hurt him too many times as I have broke up with him in the past but gotten back together again. The only reason being I have never met any nicer guy than him. He is too good to be true. I cannot bear to see him hurt. He has never ever hurt me knowingly or unknowingly. He has given me a choice to stay with him or leave him openly but he said He will always love me no matter what. When he gets emotional he has begged me never to leave him alone. This makes me upset even more. The fact he gives me a choice. I cannot forgive myself if i hurt him.

I always wonder will I get forgiveness from God if I do breakup with him. Ok this might seem stupid. But my question is: what if I hurt a person so bad? Because I am the only reason he lives happily. But on the other side I broke off with person outside my caste, God will be happy.

Please help. I am confused. what should I do according to the Bible? I dont think I can forgive myself if i hurt him.

Question about A Personal Question: My marriage
Motivation - Trouble: Personal crisis
Bible view - The Word of God - [question 140, Monday, 01-Apr-2013]

world religions
There is no shortage of religions around the world. The question is: should members of different religions marry each other?

Dianne has asked a very good question. She is a clear thinker, and she has posed her question well. Dianne is sincere, and she is seeking proper guidance from the Bible:

  1. Should I, as a Catholic, marry my boyfriend who is a Muslim?
  2. How should we raise our children?
  3. Should he convert? Should I convert? Will our families endure it?
  4. How can I deal with the conflict within me? I love him dearly, he wants to be with me and is only happy because of me, but I see trouble ahead due to our religions
  5. Will God forgive me if I hurt him by breaking up?

We will address each component of Dianne's question. And we are quietly praying for Dianne and for her boyfriend.

Should I Marry Outside My Faith?

The Bible answer to this question is clearly and simply No! If you are Christian, marry a Christian. If you are Muslim, marry a Muslim. If you are atheist, marry an atheist. Simple, huh? You don't really need the Bible to tell you this. However, there are numerous verses in the Scriptures that back up this answer, but none is so straight forward as this one:

Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?
- 2 Corinthians 6:14 [NASB]

This verse clearly states that people who believe one thing should not be 'bound together' with people who believe another thing. The important part is 'bound together' and marriage is the closest and tightest bond between two people.

Inter-racial couple
Inter-racial couples are not explicitly discouraged in the Bible, but inter-faith couples are strongly prohibited.

You might be able to work together at the same location, and you might be able to laugh together at parties, but getting married is completely different. Marriage is a sacred contract between two people with the probable result of producing children. When it comes to marriage, the Bible says emphatically stay withing your faith!

In these modern times there are plenty of people who disregard or discount what the Bible says. To such liberated people the Bible is a collection of ancient sayings that may or may not apply today. If this is your view of the Bible, you are free, of course, to modify it to fit your liking. To Dianne, however, the Bible is what God says, and it cannot be modified. At AFTB, we agree with Dianne.

Christian Catholicism and Islam are miles apart. They are build on separate foundations and they teach different things. Catholicism comes out of Judaism (Jesus was a Jew). New Testament Christianity is built firmly on the foundation of Old Testament Judaism while Islam is built on a foundation established in the Qur'an by the Prophet Mohammed 600 years after Jesus lived. Both Islam and Judaism are Abrahamic religions, but they have been completely separate since the time of Abraham, as told in the book of Genesis:

Therefore she said to Abraham, 'Drive out this maid (Hagar) and her son, for the son of this maid shall not be an heir with my son Isaac.
- Genesis 21:10 [NASB]

Abraham's sons, Ishmael by Hagar and Isaac by Sarah, are the fathers of Islam and Judaism, respectively. The Bible says to cast out Ishmael and hold on to Isaac. If Dianne is to be true to her Catholic roots, she must cast out Islam. Likewise, if Dianne's boyfriend is to be true to his Islamic roots, he must cast out Catholicism. Today's news is laced with differences between Christianity (as an outgrowth of Judaism) and Islam. If Dianne marries her boyfriend, her marriage will be laced with differences also.

Precepts in the Bible generally prefer pureness over mixture. Even so, the Bible makes no strong statements about inter-racial marriage. If a black wants to marry a white, or an Asian wants to marry a Slav, the Bible does not set up roadblocks. God does not take a person's color into account (see Race and Racism in the Bible on this web site). But God does take a person's belief into account. What a person believes goes far deeper than simple skin color. What a person believes shapes his or her life. It is very important to God, and it should be very important to everyone.

How should we raise our children?

God instituted marriage for personal fulfillment (Genesis 2:24) and to produce children (Genesis 1:28). Dianne is wise for discussing children with her boyfriend. But Dianne is not wise to hide her true feelings about this important subject. Confrontation between two people who love each other is always hard, uncomfortable, and gut-wrenching, but sometimes it is necessary. The intensely personal subjects of religion and children must be addressed before marriage can be considered. Please, Dianne, talk continually with your boyfriend about religion and children. Do not cover your feelings, and do not let him cover his feelings.

Children suffer when husband and wife disagree
When the husband and wife disagree, the children suffer. (Ephesians 6:4, 2 Timothy 3:15)

If you cannot agree together on religion and children now, when you are madly in love with each other, then you will never be able to agree on religion and children after you are married. Disagreement on religion and children will absolutely wreck your married life. That is virtually guaranteed.

There is an article on this web site which says that inter-faith marriage is ok. This article contradicts the Bible, and we do not agree with it, but it does summarize the many difficulties encountered in inter-faith marriage, as follows:

  1. Communication, the key to successful marriage, is difficult
  2. Planning together is very important, but difficult
  3. Both husband and wife must be extremely flexible
  4. Life is unsettled, everything changes often
  5. Expect difficulties with both families
  6. Husband and wife must learn about both religions
  7. Husband and wife must participate in both religions
  8. Expect to feel insecure
  9. Religious conflict takes joy out of marriage

The idea of letting a young child choose his or her religion is completely wrong, according to the Bible. Just the opposite, the Bible tells parents to guide their children along godly pathways. Left alone, a child wanders; the parents must train the child:

Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it.
- Proverbs 22:6 [NASB]

If the parents themselves are not sure of the 'way to go' in the verse above, how can they teach their children? It is a strong contradiction, and a very strong reason not to marry outside your faith.

If you believe the Bible, look at its most important passage and see what it says about the 'way to go.'

Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one! You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.
- Deuteronomy 6:4 [NASB]

The 'way to go' is to love God and obey His commandments. Bible-believing parents are to teach this way to their children.

Should he convert? Should I convert?

Catholicism is a religion and Islam is a religion. So are Judaism and Protestantism. According to Wikipedia, religion is 'an organized collection of belief systems, cultural systems, and world views that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values.' We agree fully with Wikipedia's definition.

But, true Christianity is not a religion. Instead, when a man or woman is a true Christian, he or she has a personal, one-on-one relationship with the God of the Bible. God is a friend and soul-mate of a true Christian (see What is the Meaning of Life? on this web site) and they communicate and interact on a continual basis.

With this in mind, it is possible for anyone to convert from one religion to another. To do this, one gives up his or her belief system and takes on another. While difficult, this is not impossible. However, converting from a religion to true Christianity involves an act of God, not an act of man. It involves being born again, as taught by Jesus in John chapter 3. Although many religious people claim they know how being born again happens, Jesus says it is a mystery of God, similar to wind:

The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.
- John 3:8 [NASB]

Being born again is conversion to true Christianity, and it is something you cannot do; God must do it (see Will You Go to Heaven? on this web site). So Dianne's question about converting to or from Islam is not a valid question, according to the Bible. Any conversion done by a person is not reliable. It can change at any moment. There is a high risk that such a conversion will vanish in the future. Dianne and her family should not place any hope in such a conversion. In other words, don't consider conversion, yours or his, as a solution to this problem.

How can I deal with the conflict within me?

Dianne, you are torn between two opposing forces. On one hand you want to break up with your boyfriend because you see possible danger ahead. On the other hand you want to stay with your boyfriend because there is a strong attraction to him and you make each other feel good. This is a big problem. And it is a perfectly valid and 'normal' problem. Throughout life you will face problems like this. I have faced many problems in my life, including the horrendous problem of losing my dear wife to a cancerous disease. The problems do not get easier as time goes on. They get more difficult. Jesus Himself says that you will have problems (tribulation) in John 16:33

In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
- John 16:33(b) [KJV]

Make a decision
Deal with conflict by gathering information and making a decision. There is no easy way.

You resolve these problems by doing what you are doing. You are seeking a solution by asking other people and asking God. Ask people you trust about your problem. Ask people who are older than you, since they have more experience. Not only that, ask God by praying, and listen to God by reading the Bible. We have told you what the Bible says about your problem. Now it is time for you to act on it. It is not easy. It is very difficult, sometimes, to solve life's problems. But you will be better for it. Solving problems builds your character.

You say 'I want to breakup but always I never try to do it, thinking about how much he will get hurt.' But you are hurting as well. You are very sure that your boyfriend will be hurt by the breakup, but you do not know this as an absolute fact. Also, from experience, I know that emotional hurts always heal with time. My wife died 10 years ago and I was in agony at that time. Now, 10 years later, I am not in agony any more, although I am still sad about losing her. There is no way to escape being hurt all the time. You are being unrealistic if you think that life is always pleasant. Remember what Jesus says in John 16:33 above. You must MAKE A DECISION and then stick with that decision. Making your decision is the hard part. Once you make it, things get easier as you carry out your decision. Please make your decision soon.

In summary, the way to deal with your inner conflict is to gather information and MAKE A DECISION. Then, act on your decision.

You want to make a good decision. This is why you read the Bible and talk to wise, trusted people to gather information. Then you think about your decision carefully before you make it. The Bible law of sowing and reaping is always in effect:

Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
- Galatians 6:1 [KJV]

You can choose your actions, but you cannot choose the consequences of those actions. If you make a bad decision, the results will be bad. If you make a good decision, the results will be good.

Will God forgive me?

God forgives sin, Dianne, and breaking up with your boyfriend is not sin. There is no command that says 'Thou shalt not make your boyfriend sad.' So your choice of question is not a good one. We must seek God's forgiveness when we break His law, as outlined in the Ten Commandments and expanded throughout Scripture. Sin is breaking God's law, and although hurting someone's feelings is usually undesirable, it is not sin. Sometimes it is necessary.

In fact, you will have to seek God's forgiveness if you do not break up with your boyfriend. If you marry him, you will be breaking God's law about marrying outside your faith (2 Corinthians 6:14).

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horseshoe canyon

Does the Bible say anything about housework and who is supposed to do it? Surprisingly, yes.

Does the God of the universe care about who does the housework?

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Did God create Adam out of dust, and Eve out of Adam's rib? This seems very far-fetched!

Questions about creation are super-important. They form a dividing line between people who believe the Bible has value, and those who believe it is worthless. We hope you believe the Bible has value.

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What the Bible says -- concisely.

The Bible makes it clear that once an embryo reaches the biblical stage of unformed substance, adoption, not abortion, is the proper way to avoid a grievous sin and minimize the effects of unwanted pregnancy. The precise time of unformed substance is not specified in the Bible, but it is surely early in the pregnancy. Further, the Bible is full of encouragement for loving parenting of young children. Remember: God is for you. He loves you beyond measure.

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Buying Gold and Silver

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