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Deborah_

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About Deborah_

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    Swansea, Wales
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  1. Deborah_

    What should I do?

    I don't think there's any one 'right' answer to a situation as complex as this. There are however some Biblical principles to bring to bear on it. 1) When you become a Christian, Christ draws a line under your past life. You may have some present responsibilities arising from what you have done in the past, but you can't go back to it. (e.g. you should support any children you have from past relationships as far as you are able, but you can't re-create those relationships. You are starting from scratch in your present relationship) 2) Marriage and divorce are one-way doors (Deuteronomy 24:1-4). Divorce is not a 'good' thing, but it's a very serious thing and it can't be undone. So you should not abandon your present partner in order to go back to a past one. (I appreciate you didn't mention that as an option, but I'm covering all possibilities). So I would say it is OK to get a proper divorce in order to marry your present partner. 3) Whether your present relationship has a future is not something that I can judge. But religious incompatibility is one of the few grounds for divorce permitted in Scripture (I Corinthians 7:12-16). You should seek God's will, with help from the leader/minister/pastor of your church who knows you personally. This is one reason why we need to be members of a church - so that we don't end up making such momentous decisions on our own.
  2. Deborah_

    Investing.

    This is just my personal opinion: I would want to invest my money in a way that benefits someone (other than me). If you put money in a bank or savings account, the bank then loans that money out to someone who needs it. If you invest in stocks and shares, your money is (in theory, at least) being used by the company. So those are 'good' ways to invest. But if you buy coins, they just sit in a safe and do nothing. So I wouldn't invest in coins.
  3. Deborah_

    How to develop fruits of the spirit?

    If you were baptised as a believer there's no reason to get baptised again. Baptism should be a one-off event. As for showing fruit of the Spirit: 1) Fruit takes time to grow. We all like instant results, but in the Christian life this is quite unusual. 2) The harvest depends not only on the seed but also on the farmer. The more effort you put in to your sanctification (by obedience), the more fruit you will see.
  4. Deborah_

    Thoughts on Hannah

    It would appear that Elkanah genuinely loved Hannah, but had married a second wife because Hannah was unable to have children. This must have been a particularly difficult situation for both women. Peninnah was evidently one of those women who gets pregnant at the drop of a hat; her repeated ‘successes’ meant that Hannah was constantly humiliated. And infertility, for a Hebrew woman, was not just a personal failure but a disgrace; people would have assumed that God was punishing her for some reason. Elkanah manfully did his best to make things up for her, but his obvious favouritism for Hannah (I Samuel 1:5) only served to stoke the fire of Peninnah’s jealousy. In the modern age we no longer consider infertility to be a divine judgement, and childlessness no longer carries the social stigma that Hannah had to bear; for many women, it is a lifestyle choice. And yet those who cannot have children for one reason or another are tormented just as deeply as Hannah was. We suffer because of the unspoken assumption that our fertility is under our control; certainly we can prevent pregnancy very effectively with modern contraceptives, but conception can still be elusive (despite the wonders of IVF). Many years ago, our pastor’s wife and I miscarried within a few weeks of each other. She got pregnant again very quickly; I had to wait four long and excruciatingly painful years… Christmas and Mothers’ Day, with their special focus on children and motherhood, are particularly difficult times to cope with. The equivalent ordeal, for Hannah, was the annual family pilgrimage to the Tabernacle at Shiloh, where Peninnah would spare no effort to spoil the occasion with her waspish taunting. And when she had succeeded in reducing Hannah to tears, Elkanah seemed unable to understand why his beloved wife was so distressed (I Samuel 1:8). Women have been known to commit suicide under such pressure; but Hannah had one last place to go to. A devout person, she had surely prayed for a child many times before. But on this particular occasion, she was driven to pray with unusual intensity. The nearest that a mere woman could get to the sanctuary where God ‘lived’ was the gateway; there she poured out her soul to God, silently but with such agitation and distress that the old priest sitting nearby thought that she was drunk! And she made a solemn vow: her son (if she ever had one) would not be just an ordinary Levite like his father, but would be dedicated to God’s service as a lifelong Nazarite (see Numbers 6:1-8). Hannah’s vow was to have momentous consequences. At the time, the official priesthood was corrupt (I Samuel 2:12-36) and the nation was without effective spiritual leadership. But her eldest son, Samuel, grew up to be one of Israel’s greatest ever prophets. He served his God and his people faithfully for the whole of his long life, initiating a spiritual revival (I Samuel 7) and anointing Israel’s first two kings (I Samuel 10 & 16). And it all began with an ordinary woman calling upon God in desperation and in faith… Sometimes a great work of God can grow only out of stony ground.
  5. Deborah_

    Holding Fast To Sound Doctrine

    "Stand firm in the Lord!" (verse 1) But that's really looking back to what Paul said in chapter 3.
  6. Deborah_

    How can Jesus Christ be the Son of God?

    Genetics is a modern science, unimaginable in NT times. So how can the Greek "genes" possibly mean "genetics"? Both words are actually derived from another Greek word, "genea" ('family' or 'generation'). How can God (who is spirit) have genes? Jesus has the same nature as God, but genes don't come into it. BostonBorn is right: "monogenes" means "unique" or "only child"
  7. Deborah_

    The Book of Ruth

    The story of Ruth takes us back over three thousand years, into a society without machinery, social security, schools or supermarkets. This is a society where there is no employment other than farming, and where a poor harvest (or the death of the family breadwinner) means that starvation is staring you in the face. In such an environment, romance takes second place to financial security. It’s also a society in which the reality of God’s existence is always assumed – and acknowledged – whatever your situation and feelings. One day Naomi is praying for her daughters-in-law; the next she is railing bitterly at the God who has bereaved her of her husband and children. Boaz greets his employees with a blessing; and they respond in a similar manner. Is this what it is like to “pray continually” (I Thessalonians 5:17)? It isn’t just talk, either (James 2:15,16). After praying for God’s blessing on Ruth, Boaz takes action to ensure that she can get enough food to live on. And when Naomi realises that Boaz is not going to make the first move, she works out a strategy to enable Ruth to propose to him! There are no miracles here – but nevertheless the reader can see that God is at work, through the choices and actions of ordinary people (which is how He does things 99.9% of the time). Ruth leaves her home and culture in order to support her impoverished mother-in-law (and if that isn’t selfless love, what is?). Boaz is required by law to leave the margins of his field unreaped, to feed the local ‘underclass’; but he actually gives away far more than the bare minimum. Both of them – eventually – receive back far more than they give, in their marriage and in their son (who turns out to have a vital place in the genealogy of the Messiah).
  8. We're not told how many, who and why. So I've no idea. But if they had included anyone 'famous', no doubt names would have been mentioned.
  9. I don't think there's any 'must' about it. Otherwise, why would the gift of interpretation be needed?
  10. Deborah_

    Isaiah 9:6 from Tanakh to KJV?

    Personally, I don't like the KJV because the language is outdated. I use modern versions of the Bible. Where Isaiah 7:14 is concerned, I think it's important to know both translations. The 'literal' one doesn't really get the full meaning across in English. Would we guess (especially in the current state of society) that a young unmarried woman would be a virgin? Matthew's gospel, like the rest of the New Testament, was written in Greek and uses the Greek translation when quoting from the Old Testament. So it's the Greek word 'parthenos' ('virgin') there.
  11. Is it real? It can be - there are instances where a tongue has been recognised by a native speaker of that language. However, these days there are so many people who have been "taught" to speak in tongues, and I suspect that this isn't the same thing as the spiritual gift. 'Tongues' can also be faked. Many years ago, John Sherrill did an experiment (recorded in his book 'They speak with other tongues') : he recorded several people speaking in tongues and played the tape to a group of linguists. None of the languages were recognised (not surprising, since there are thousands of languages in existence and between them they only knew a dozen or two) - but the experts could tell the difference between the genuine tongues and the tongue that had been (deliberately) faked.
  12. Deborah_

    Why Do Christians Fast

    Fasting to lose weight is a form of dieting. That could be a very good idea - but it isn't a specifically Christian reason for fasting. Christians usually fast when wanting to get closer to God for some reason - maybe when praying about a major issue, or when engaging in spiritual warfare. In Acts 13:1, we read how the church in Antioch fasted when trying to discern God's will for them. Fasting is a form of spiritual discipline. It intensifies our prayers, and indicates that we're utterly serious about what we're praying for.
  13. Those who believe are with Jesus in Paradise (Luke 23:43).
  14. I'm not sure where this is in conflict with what I have been saying, except that you are using different terminology.
  15. And who says God has forgotten them in the meantime? What do you believe? Do you believe in soul sleep, or do you believe that the spirits of those who believe go to Paradise, there to await their resurrection in the company of each other and of our Lord (Luke 23:43)? Because that's where the patriarchs are (Luke 16:22). It's very difficult to place Matt 27:50 in the overall scheme of the next life. Whoever these people were, they didn't continue to walk around Jerusalem in permanently resurrected bodies, or they'd still be there today. So it was a temporary phenomenon - a foretaste of what will happen when Jesus returns.
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