Ask Your Preacher
On one occasion shortly after I prayed to Jesus, in the darkness of my eyes (STILL closed), I could clearly see the word "Grace" light up like a white neon-light sign, and it was hovering over a body of water. After this picture faded away, I opened my eyes and wondered: was it a vision? What does this mean? Can you answer this for me?
Dear Floating Grace,
No, it was not a vision. Prophets have visions, and there are no more prophets since we have the perfect and complete Word of God (1 Cor 13:8-10). The human mind is a complex and wondrous thing (Ps 139:14). It is perfectly normal for our mind to make mental connections as we pray, study, sleep, etc. Those mental images aren’t visions; they are just your own thoughts as your mind meditates upon what you have said, read, or heard.
We recommend you read “I Dreamed A Dream” for more information.
Is saving money in a 401K retirement account considered "storing up for yourselves treasures on earth"? (Matthew 6:19)
Saving money is not a bad thing, but falling in love with money and hoarding it is. God tells us that christians should be good stewards of whatever He gives us… and that includes money (1 Pet 4:10). Jesus gives the parable of the talents and uses the example of men saving and investing as a positive example (Matt 25:14-30). The Proverbs mention the industrious ant as an example of preparing and saving (Pr 6:6-8). If we are careful and smart with money, that makes God happy… unless we begin to worship that money.
Greed (Pr 1:19), covetousness (Col 3:5), and the love of money (1 Tim 6:10) are always sins. It is a good thing to save for the future as long as we are content with whatever the Lord has given us (Heb 13:5).
Is the ministry and gift referenced in 2 Corinthians 9 referring to money? If so, was this money collected by the churches in Achaia to be given to needy non-Christians (9:13)? I've heard some conflicting views on this, and I'm looking for a good, Biblical answer.
Dear Gift Giver,
2 Cor 9 is dealing with a gift of money. Paul is telling the Corinthians how happy he is with their readiness and zeal to give (2 Cor 9:2). The whole chapter is dealing with a collection to care for the needs of impoverished christians in Jerusalem. Paul told the Corinthian church to begin taking up a collection for that need in 1 Cor 16:1-3 and that he would pick up the money and deliver it to Jerusalem when he passed through Macedonia (1 Cor 16:5-6).
In the Second Corinthian letter, Paul is telling them once again to make that gift ready because he is coming soon, and he wanted them to be prepared (2 Cor 9:3-5). That money was collected by the church in Corinth to care for the needs of christians (2 Cor 9:1). When Paul talks about their liberality “unto them and unto all” (2 Cor 9:13) – the ‘them’ in that context is the brethren in Judea, and the ‘all’ is all the brethren that the Corinthian church had been kind to and cared for.
The Bible only authorizes a local church to give money to care for needy christians. The church has more restrictive financial guidelines than individuals do. As individuals, we can – and should – care for both christians and non-christians (Gal 6:10).
Does James 5:14 prohibit the calling of a doctor when someone is sick because only an elder is mentioned as an individual to be called?
Dear Feeling Ill,
If your question is whether or not a Christian is allowed to use doctors and medicine, the answer is ‘yes’. Paul told Timothy to take wine medicinally for a sick stomach (1 Tim 5:23), and in Mk 2:17 Jesus states that a sick person needs a doctor. Jas 5:14 shows the power of prayer in healing, but it doesn’t exclude using medicine.
What is the last book of the Bible?
Dear Counting Pages,
There are sixty-six total books in the Bible. Thirty-nine books in the Old Testament, and there are twenty-seven books in the New Testament. The last book of the Old Testament is Malachi. The last book of the New Testament is Revelation.