Saturday, 13-May-2017

Every day is a good day to praise God. What about formal worship?

The correct day of worship is always a hot topic among religious people. We have received numerous inquiries into this important area. But, we want to warn everyone of any 'Bible professionals' who want to prefer one day over another according to his or her Bible-based guidelines. One can easily interpret various passages in the Bible to make it look like you are falling short unless you tow the line and worship only on a particular day selected by the 'professional.' Romans 14:5-6 is the passage that neutralizes such strategies.

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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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Does the Bible prohibit collecting interest on loans?

Emmanuel asks: It is acceptable for ashort Son of God to have a business like bank. Jesus one day said we should not borrow friend money and want it with an interest in return, I don't know as a business that the some procedure is applied or I what. In parable of three man who were given talent the last one he/she didn't manage to make it double he just dicky a hole and live it there until sower comes, the last words He said it was better if you have taken that talent to bank so that you will receive interest by now. Please assist We want to open a business for loans or bank
Question about A General Question: Meaning of a passage
Motivation - Guidance: Not sure, confused; Guidance: Looking for a solution
Bible view - The Word of God - [question 198, Wednesday, 17-Jun-2015]

Emmanuel says he wants to open a commercial financial institution, but he is not sure how to interpret Bible passages about collecting interest. Some passages seem to prohibit charging interest. Other passages seem to say that it is ok to charge interest. Indeed, the subject can be confusing.

Summary - In a word, Emmanuel, the Bible supports the idea of interest on loans for commercial purposes. Of course, all the ethics of 'Love Thy Neighbor' apply to commercial loans, but any reasonable rate of interest is fine by biblical standards. We attempt to build proper biblical insight in the following paragraphs.

Render to Caesar

Throughout His earthly ministry, Jesus was constantly challenged by the religious leaders of the day. At one point they tried to trip Him up by asking a question about taxes. 'Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not? (Matthew 22:17). Jesus replies with a masterful response:

Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's.
- Matthew 22:21 [KJV]

In this way the Bible establishes an important principle we call in America 'Separation of Church and State' or the idea that political power should not be joined with religious power, lest a few leaders gain absolute rule over the people. This lesson has not been learned in several Islamic nations today, where politics combined with religion rule the people with an iron grip.

Likewise, under strict interpretation of Islamic Sharia Law, collecting interest is prohibited, leading to either: (1) economic shortcomings or (2) crafty interpretations to circumvent the problem. Again, Jesus cleared up the question of collecting interest with a famous story known as the Parable of the Talents which says, in part:

Then you ought to have put my money in the bank, and on my arrival I would have received my money back with interest.
- Matthew 25:27 [NASB]

The fact that Jesus' parable mentions banks, lending, and interest in a favorable light gives explicit approval to the practice in business ventures. Of course the meaning of the parable goes much deeper than business ventures, encouraging believers to use and prosper their spiritual gifts.

The Sanctity of Labor

From beginning to end, the Bible is pro-business. The Bible endorses property ownership, economic endeavor, financial prosperity, industry, and the Judeo-Christian work ethic.

The eight Commandment says 'Thou shall not steal.' It establishes the sanctity of private property and that which is necessary to get it, i.e., the sanctity of labor. Of this commandment a famous rabbi writes:

Property represents the fruit of industry and intelligence. Any aggression on the property of our neighbor is, therefore, an assault on his human personality. This Commandment also has a wider application than theft and robbery; and it forbids every illegal acquisition of property by cheating, by embezzlement or forgery. - Hertz, Dr. J H, Pentateuch and Haftorahs, London, 1962

The New Testament summarizes the concept of free-market capitalism in one short statement:

if any would not work, neither should he eat.
- 2 Thessalonians 3:10 [KJV]

Proper Charity

There are three passages in the Torah which, at first glance, appear to prohibit interest-taking. But even a cursory reading shows that these apply to the special case of charitable loans and giving, not to commercial business.

You shall not charge interest to your countrymen: interest on money, food, or anything that may be loaned at interest.
- Deuteronomy 23:19 [NASB]

If you lend money to My people, to the poor among you, you are not to act as a creditor to him; you shall not charge him interest.
- Exodus 22:25 [NASB]

Now in case a countryman of yours becomes poor and his means with regard to you falter, then you are to sustain him, like a stranger or a sojourner, that he may live with you. Do not take usurious interest from him, but revere your God, that your countryman may live with you. You shall not give him your silver at interest, nor your food for gain.
- Leviticus 25:35ff [NASB]

In the above verses, words like countrymen, the poor among you, and sustain him indicate that demanding interest in charitable cases is improper. You don't really need the Bible to tell you that. Common sense and a soft heart will get the message across just fine.

Bowerer is Slave to Lender

The few passages above acknowledge that circumstances often require commercial loans. Bankers, like soldiers and policemen, are respected in the Bible as valued professionals who are necessary for prosperity in civilized society. But, the power of bankers, soldiers, and policemen must be kept in check.

The Book of Proverbs has a lot to say about the borrower-lender relationship. The most famous verse is this one:

The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.
- Proverbs 22:7 [KJV]

But, if you are rich or a lender, watch out. There are consequences if you abuse your power over people less fortunate than you:

Rob not the poor, because he is poor: neither oppress the afflicted in the gate: For the LORD will plead their cause, and spoil the soul of those that spoiled them.
- Proverbs 22:22ff [KJV]

He that oppresseth the poor to increase his riches, and he that giveth to the rich, shall surely come to want.
- Proverbs 22:16 [KJV]
by Paul Richards

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Pending Question

Chuck M asks: Where do we go when we die? When I went to a Catholic grade school many years ago, the Sisters taught us that when we die, we go to purgatory. I don't see anything about purgatory in the Bible.
Question about A General Question: Meaning of a passage
Motivation - Curiosity: Sincere curiosity
Bible view - The Word of God - [question 248, Sunday, 26-Mar-2017]

Hi Chuck -- That's a KEY question, isn't it? All religions have an answer for it. Many religions teach that we are re-incarnated, i.e., brought back to life in a different body. Some say we become infused into the cosmos in an mysterious, enlightened state. Others say we simply cease to exist. Since you believe the Bible, the important answer is the one from the Bible.

First, the Bible teaches that mankind is fundamentally different than the animals. Man is made 'in the image of God' (Genesis 1:26) and animals are not. There are many distinct differences between man and animals. Attributes such as wisdom, compassion, truthfulness, faithfulness, love, abstract reasoning, mercy, acting counter to instinct, use of tools, written communication, pursuit of happiness, righteousness, creativity, burying of dead, wrath, free will, art, music, humor, morality, rationality, trade, and a sense of beauty are 'supernatural' attributes that do not occur in animals, only in mankind. We call the supernatural part of of man or woman his or her 'spirit,' which is distinct from his or her body.

The Bible says that when we die, our body rots away, but our spirit continues to live. The most understandable passage about what happens when we die is found in 2 Corinthians:

We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. - 2 Corinthians 5:8

This scripture says that when our spirit is not with the body, it is with the Lord, in His presence. What is not clear in this passage, or any other passage, is the precise timing of the event.

Most Protestants say that the absent-then-present event happens immediately, and there are scriptures which support this view. Most Catholics say that there in an intermediate state between absence and presence, known as Purgatory, and there are scriptures which support this view. There is no sure-fire way to tell which is correct, because the Bible does not have a sure-fire answer.

I am a Protestant. I respect my Catholic brothers and sisters in Christ, and I know personally many Catholics who demonstrate their love for Jesus more than I do. Therefore I will not completely dismiss Catholic doctrine. But I will tell you why I believe the doctrine of Purgatory is faulty.

The Catholic doctrine of Purgatory stems from the Catholic doctrine of venial and mortal sin. Venial sins are ones that are not so bad, and these can be cleansed during a stay in Purgatory. The idea of a sin that does not fully condemn immediately, or is not fully cleansed by Jesus' sacrifice on the cross, is foreign to the Bible. Sin is breaking God's Law, and God's Law is a unit. If you break it at one point, you break it at all points:

For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. - James 2:10

Hence, to my way of thinking, Purgatory does not exist. But there are many Christian people who subscribe to the idea.

Seeking Bible truth is a good thing. But arguing over religious doctrines holds questionable value. Better is demonstrating love for God and love for others, for

Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. - Matthew 22:37ff

Does the Trinity doctrine stand up to reason?

How can anyone explain the essential nature of God? The God of the Bible is unlike anything else in human experience.

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If your wife is angry and domineering, it may be her fault. But it's probably you, her, and Jezebel.

If you are living with a contentious spouse, we have several steps you can take:

  1. Understand what is going on spiritually
  2. Enlist professional help
  3. Seek God about this specific issue

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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

Mon, 26-Jun-2017 03:45:22 GMT, unknown: 642337 ABwRGDdy4cBAI
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