Is the practice of cremation wrong? Does it prevent a person being resurrected?
The practice of cremation is of ancient origin. It was used in the idolatrous fire worship of paganism. Notice what the Encyclopaedia Americana says: "In primitive cultures which have survived into modern times, cremation is widely practiced. Burning is not only supposed to destroy the dead body most effectively and thus to prevent the possible return of the ghost, but since fire serves also as a purifying agency, it is often considered a good means of warding off evil spirits.... Besides discouraging the ghost from haunting the corpse and its former abode, and serving as a means of purification from evil spirits and the contamination associated with the dead body, cremation has also, in some instances, as among the Hindus and [the] Chupchi of Siberia, has been associated with a belief in a heavenly abode for the spirit of the deceased. The flames of the funeral pyre, leaping upward, are thought to facilitate the ascent of the soul" (article, "Cremation"). Nimrod and Semiramis were the originators of paganism and it was Nimrod who first bore the title of "Moloch." In his honour children were made to "pass through the fire to Moloch" (Jer. 32:35) — a pagan practice that God condemned! (Lev. 18:21). Parents even sacrificed their children to Moloch, "the belief being cherished that the fire that consumed them also perfected them, and made them meet for eternal happiness....Both the passing though the fire, and the burning in the fire were essential rites in the worship of Moloch or Nimrod" (The Two Babylons by Hislop, p. 315). Examples in the Bible show that a simple burial was the custom of the Hebrews who lived during that time. (Gen. 25:9; 35:20). Jacob, for example, was embalmed (an Egyptian custom) and buried (Gen. 50:5, 26). Christ was buried, not cremated!. "Burning was looked upon as abominable, as injury to the dead (Josh. 7:25;... II Kings 23:20; Amos 2:1).... Not to be buried was a terrible disgrace which one could hardly wish even to one's greatest enemy" (Encyclopaedia Biblica, article, "The Dead"). It is our absolute recommendation that the body be simply buried. In cases where a person has no control over the disposition of the body, however, we should remember that it is not so important what happens to our bodies after death as it is that of having lived a new life after conversion and having died in Christ. Whether a body becomes dust OR ashes ("burnt" dust) the Bible promises that it will be in the resurrection (Acts 24:15; Rev. 20:17-15). Through the power of God, all cremated bodies will be resurrected!
"Recently a man asked me to loan him money. Should a Christian ask for collateral or a note as security when making a loan?"
Many have assumed that since the Bible prohibits the taking of usury or interest from brethren, it also forbids requiring collateral as security for a loan. This is not the case. There is an important difference. Charging of interest involves taking advantage of another's need. God does not want us to help our brethren for selfish personal gain, but out of love. Requesting collateral or a note is entirely different. It is simply a sign of one's good and honest intentions to repay the loan. There is no profit or gain involved. The Bible permits the asking of a note as security for a loan (see Deut. 24:10-13). Being willing to give collateral or sign a note teaches one a valuable lesson. God does, however, place specific restrictions on taking collateral or security in cases of poverty (Ex. 22:26-27). God prohibits taking as collateral a man's tools by which he earns his living (Deut. 24:6). A lender is not given the right to go into a borrower's home to get the security without his permission or to force him to sign a note. The man to whom you make the loan has the responsibility to bring the collateral to you (Deut. 24:10-11). Paul instructs New Testament Christians not to be "slothful in business" (Rom. 12:11). And Solomon said: "...The borrower is servant to the lender" (Prov. 22:7). We discourage borrowing from brethren. Let's each provide his own living.