What is the significance of the "Sabbath Day's journey" mentioned in Acts 1:12?
The "Sabbath Day's journey" — which is not a Bible command but a rabbinical measurement — amounted to approximately three-fifths of a mile. It was the distance which the Jews allowed one to travel on foot on the Sabbath Day. Acts 1:12 mentions this distance not as a command to follow, but as a well-known and commonly used Jewish unit for measuring distance. This distance was set by the Jewish Rabbis who misinterpreted the passage, "Let no man go out of his place on the seventh day" (Ex. 16:29), to prohibit going beyond the limits of the city in which one resides. The physical size of cities of those days apparently was used as a basis for setting 2000 cubits (3000 feet — about 3/5 mile) as a Sabbath Day's journey. The setting of this distance was not inspired. The principle that is to be followed today is that we should not travel so far as to weary our bodies on the Sabbath, whether we go on foot or by mechanical transportation. In our modern fast moving world, many brethren can travel well over 100 miles to church by car without wearying themselves.
I just can't seem to find the opportunity to pray. How can I solve this problem?
In many homes the problem of lack of prayer is a major concern. Brethren try to be good Christians, and yet there is something lacking. Members of a family are often grumpy, cross, and irritable. There is not enough joy and love expressed. And it is all obviously due to a lack of diligent prayer and Bible study. And in every home we often find one major reason for that problem. Although the members of the family want to be zealous Christians in prayer, they have no place to pray. There is no place set aside specifically to be a place of prayer or study. All of your closets full? Is there no suitable guest room or den that could be used? How many of you have to use a bathroom in which to pray? To be perfectly frank, a bathroom is not a suitable place to pray as a habit. Sometimes we find that the only place one prays is in bed. In one case a young man has to sleep with three other brothers in the same room, and only prays in bed. This is no way to gain a close contact with God. God will hear you pray anywhere, but when you pray, you should try to be on your knees in a quiet place such as Christ commanded in Matt. 6:6. If, where you live, you have no place to pray, that doesn't mean that you must just go along with that situation. You should make a place. Houses don't normally come with enough closets or extra rooms so that you could make one into a place just for prayer. At least set aside a room part time for prayer if no more suitable arrangement is possible. For instance, when Ambassador College turned some of the fine homes we acquired into dormitories, we found we had to build special closets for student use. On the floor of these prayer closets we put a rug to kneel on, and a small stool to rest a Bible on, in case one wanted to study his Bible while he kneeled. In the ceiling we put a light, and hole for a small fan to provide adequate ventilation. This solved the lack of a place to pray.
My husband does not believe in tithing. What are my responsibilities in this case?
Each person is responsible for that which God puts under his, or her, authority. God made the husband head of the family (I Cor. 11:3), and made him responsible for making decisions pertaining to family policy. It is his responsibility to decide how to use his salary or the income from a family enterprise such as a farm or store, even though his wife may work with him in it. A wife, of course, should tithe her own earned income, but her conversion does not give her permission to exercise authority over her husband's money. She should not tithe or give offerings from his salary without his permission, even if he makes her responsible for the handling the personal finances of the family. The wife should faithfully follow her husband's directions in using the money he entrusts to her care (Eph. 5:22; Luke 16:10-12). A wife who disobeys her husband in this regard in a sense blasphemes the Word of God (Tit. 2:4-5). After you have once asked your husband if he wants to tithe, if he says "No," you should not press the matter further. You should not criticize your husband for neglecting to tithe, nor argue with him in an attempt to persuade him to change his mind. Doing so would only hinder his eventual conversion. Just wait patiently for God to change his mind when He sees fit. In the meantime, your conduct without words will influence him much more favorably than words (I Pet. 3:1-2). If, however, he allows you to tithe part or all of the family income, then by all means do so. In such a case it is your responsibility to tithe, once your husband grants you permission.
Is it wrong to wash dishes on the Sabbath?
The Sabbath should be devoted to spiritual matters — the daily routine of activities should be kept at a minimum (Isa. 58:13-14). Many women in the church leave the dishes to be washed later. Others use paper plates which can easily be disposed of. Still others simply rinse, neatly stack, and cover soiled dishes and utensils. It is not absolutely wrong ever to wash dishes on the Sabbath — it may even be necessary if you do not have enough dishes to last through the day. However, with foresight and proper meal-planning, it should not be necessary to spend much time washing dishes. Such work should be kept to a minimum so that a wife will not deprive herself of the rest, prayer, and study that should be tiers on the Sabbath.
Is it wrong for me to date a girl who is not a Christian, if she is a girl of good character?
Dating is a modern form of social fellowship. Since it may lead to marriage, everyone should exercise great care with whom he or she dates. Christians are expressly commanded: "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? (II Cor. 6:14.) We are here commanded to avoid anything which would cause us to be "yoked together" with unbelievers or even to have continual fellowship with them. James warns us: "Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God" (Jas. 4:4). Put God first in your life Have the courage to draw the line on whom you will, and will not, date. One who really knows God will believe that His way is right and will obey Him. The person who spurns God's advice is not a believer (see I John 2:4). Therefore, you should have no regular dates or fellowship with outsiders. God does provide you with social opportunities at the annual festivals. Marriage is certainly the closest form of being "yoked together." And dating is a kind of close social fellowship which usually precedes and may lead to marriage. If a Christian knowingly marries an unconverted person, he is deliberately disobeying God. God forbids us to make such a mistake!