Forthright MagazineTime 2022-10-22 00:13:29
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The churches of Galatia were given some instructions for the spiritual. Paul wrote, “Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:1-2). Continue reading “Instructions for the spiritual”
The book of Numbers opens up living true to its name: it talks about the census as the people of Israel were counted, ‘numbered’ if you will. As such, it usually doesn’t make the most exciting reading for most people. But there are lessons we can learn from even the mundane parts of life such as a census. Continue reading “Working together to serve God”
If Bermuda grass is the horticultural bane of our existence as Southern gardeners, the rabbits are the counterpart in the animal world. Many of us have heaved a sigh of relief after watching a familiy of bunnies playing in the vegetable garden and then finding out that they did NOT eat that ripe tomato or squash that would have been ready to pick tomorrow.
Many are the times when we have had to replant a row of vegetables after the first row had been mown down by these voracious fuzzy monsters. We have come to expect it.
A prominent political pundit recently made a detour from his usual insightful political commentary to offer women some marital advice. Suffice to say it was not well received by either men nor women.
“It wouldn’t hurt for a wife to tell her husband, ‘I know it’s your nature to want a variety of women. Thank you for your fidelity.”
There is so much wrong in this thinking. First, a caveat. We should always be thankful for one another as husbands and wives, or any relationship for that matter. (Romans 1:8, 1 Corinthians 1:4, Colossians 1:3, 2 Thessalonians 1:2, 2 Thessalonians 1:3.)
This gentleman went above and beyond thanks and respect, though. Beyond….in a bad way. First, he assumes that all husbands constantly desire to stray from their marriage vows, but in reality this is the exception. The inspired words penned in the Bible paint a different picture.
“I have made a covenant with mine eyes: why then should I think upon a maid?” (Job 31:1, KJV).
“But whoso committeth adultery with a woman lacketh understanding; he that doeth it destroyeth his own soul” (Proverbs 6:32).
Secondly, one has to wonder what kind of an idea that puts in the mind of a man who is prone to infidelity. If he gets a blue ribbon for keeping his promise made at his wedding, does he get the red, second-place ribbon if he only cheats a few times?
“Marriage is honorable in all, and the marriage bed undefiled; but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge (Hebrews 13:4).
Third, this is demeaning to women. Do we also have to thank our men for not beating us, or murdering us? They could, you know. We are the weaker vessel. This demeanor of bowing and scraping and expressing thanks for avoiding a sin described as “against his own body” is lowering women to the level of property, a concept not found in the Bible. This sin is so egregious that God outlines it as the only condition for remarriage after divorce (Matthew 19:9).
Fourth, this idea is demeaning to men. We are not simply highly evolved apes, and should not behave as such. Man (“anthropos” or mankind) was created in the image of God. Marriage was instituted in the first week of creation. God expects better!
Having looked at all this, we can still agree that appreciation goes a long way. We must never become so complacent in good marriages that we don’t once in a while…maybe even often… tell one another how much we appreciate the godly, decent, and upright nature and actions of our spouses.
This of course includes marital faithfulness, but does not single it out. I have often turned to my husband after seeing a troubled marriage and said, “I’m so glad God gave us each other.”
If you cannot in honesty manage a blanket compliment like that, be specific. “Thank you for not eating my tomatoes.”
The Israelites, as the people of God, were to observe days of rest that were called ‘Sabbaths’. They worked for six days and then there was a day of rest. The rest was not just for the Israelites but also applied to those who worked for them and even to their animals. But Sabbaths didn’t stop there. Continue reading “Trusting in God to provide”
When most people hear or use the words “spiritual” or “spirituality,” the mental pictures conjured up by them are often meditative people with eyes closed and serene expressions on their faces. It is true that the spiritual person is thoughtful, deliberate, and peaceful, but he is much more than that.
Although the New Testament doesn’t have, as far as I know, a word association such as is found in the title, there is a connection between spirituality, in the biblical sense, and a spirited, or active, posture. Continue reading “To be spiritual is to be spirited”
“The Lord said to Moses, ‘Speak to the priests, the sons of Aaron, and say to them: “A priest must not make himself ceremonially unclean for any of his people who die, except for a close relative, such as his mother or father, his son or daughter, his brother, or an unmarried sister who is dependent on him since she has no husband – for her he may make himself unclean. He must not make himself unclean for people related to him by marriage, and so defile himself.” (Leviticus 21:1-4 NIV) Continue reading “Having a pure heart”
Accidents happen. We may have heard that from someone after we broke something of theirs that was valuable. When the thing that is broken or hurt is another human being, we may urgently seek a first aid kit. The things we do to the physically injured are just as necessary for the spiritually wounded. Continue reading “Spiritual first aid”
“For I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, and all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ” (1 Corinthians 10:1-4).
Rebellion led the Israelites to wilderness wanderings. While in the wilderness, this vast crowd had physical needs. They needed the basics: food and water. God provided for them. Continue reading “Spiritual food”
From my understanding of what happened to Israel in Exodus and Leviticus, God’s intention had been that Israel be a nation of priests. When the Israelites first arrived at Mount Sinai and Moses first went up to speak with God, God gave him this message for the Israelites.
“‘You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites” (Exodus 19:4-6 NIV).
Continue reading “God’s priests”
Rest is one of the great promises of God. He gave that promise to the children of Israel, but they failed to receive it. Their negative example should motivate us to live the way God directs. Continue reading “A promise of rest”
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