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Ruth Also

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  1. One important reminder is that Paul wrote letters in response to situations going on in the local groups, or answering questions those local groups asked him. As someone put it, you need to remember that you are reading a letter addressed to someone else. So we are necessarily missing part of the story. Paul would have taught in accordance to the "Holy Scriptures" which are able to make you wise unto salvation (as he said to Timothy), and not in contradiction to it, showing how Jesus fulfilled what was written. So it might be good to be grounded in the old testament concepts, because that's all the "Holy Scriptures" they had when Paul was writing his letters. What important concepts can you pick out from the law, prophets, songs, proverbs, and stories that would help you understand this section of Paul's letter to the Corinthians? What does the law say, and why? What might have been different in the Corinthian culture that just wasn't fitting with the way God had always had them doing their life and culture? Why might it be important to make any comments to the Corinthians about this? I've always been hesitant to come down to a firm decision since I wasn't there to see why Paul might want to address this concern or what it might mean, and he didn't put it in his overall "gospel according to Paul" to all the locations, which makes me think all the more that it was a local cultural type of question, maybe something in their culture that made this situation more disruptive than helpful. I can hardly imagine Paul NOT wanting the women to learn and be all that they could be in Christ as members in His Body. Just my thoughts.
  2. Praying for you Evs. Are there children involved? I've seen a lot in my years and I would STRONGLY encourage you not to let him back in until there is so much proof that other people are telling you daily for 3 years or more how he's changed and you can see his solidness. If he is sincere he'll wait until you are convinced without pressuring you and his light will be shining so much others will know. Otherwise, it's the same stuff all over again. I hear that narcissism is cyclic like that, and I've seen several cyclers in my social circle, with no drugs or alcohol involved, just people that didn't realize what appropriate relationships are. Please do yourself a favor and strongly consider giving yourself much space from this situation, especially in light of having been cheated on and abused as those are not light accusations. I also suggest holding out no hope for reconciliation and keep communications to a minimum (or not at all), Allow yourself the freedom to sit back and watch whether his now remorseful attitude actually continues without communicating with him. And please be aware that you'll struggle for a sense of normal and be so tempted to go back with this relationship - it's part of the cycle. Please remind yourself that you really don't want to cycle indefinitely. For people impacted by folks they call narcissists, I noticed it takes several years just to get a sense of normal back, but they say it's so well worth it. Your choice, your consequences, but that's the most realistic advice I can offer from what I've seen. This man has already broken the marriage covenant by unfaithfulness in the physical union as well as unfaithfulness in protecting you. While God hates divorce (and so do I) it's not hard to imagine that after all that you've been through that the best plan would be just to follow through with freedom from the cycles. Use the time to establish and strengthen your relationship with the Eternal Lord who really does love you, value you, and cares to draw you into a functional relationship. Keep us posted - hoping the best for you!
  3. Those are really astute questions! The way I see it, when God created us in His image, He gave us choice, the ability to choose our reactions and actions. So the potential for mankind to disobey God was there from the beginning, and was brought out by the serpent in the garden. I also don't think this particularly surprised God, but at the same time, when He came looking for the people He made, He asked where they were and I don't think that was fake: He actually made them to be able to choose to be available or not available, to trust Him or to choose their own path along with the consequences of those actions. You'd think we'd have learned faster that it makes total sense to trust and obey Him, but that pride, self-will, and foolishness in our hearts, along with some well placed temptation, can so easily mess us up, and had it not been Adam, the next person may have been the one to sell out mankind. We can find few examples of righteous people in the Bible, but there are some that come highly recommended, even if not perfect. We continue to be able to choose right or wrong before and after encountering Jesus. In Jesus we see what obedience looks like, what the law God gave us looks like worked out, and we hear the word "suffering," which is how Jesus learned obedience, it says. I'd say many of us have been resistant to learning obedience through suffering, even though we certainly suffer when we disobey. In Jesus's death we see the price of our rebellion, the filthiness of our sins, and the foolishness of our selfish ways. In His resurrection, we see victory over all the strongholds, even death: His blood cleanses us from all of that, but the ability to choose is not taken away. We have all the help we need to make right choices, which God wanted us to make all along because His ways are ways of life and other choices lead to destruction. You can see from the way God acted with Israel in the OT that He provided mercy again and again, but eventually He'd let their choices catch up with them and when they cried to Him, He'd help them. In Jesus we see His obedient Son. Judging angels, someone mentioned? Well, consider if God wants to bring many sons to Himself what He might want us to do with us in the long run. I don't think it's over when we get planted, and we get a few hints that there's an interesting future. Maybe this is the practice period for that time. If it were, what would you want to learn? Read to the back of the Bible and you see that even at the end there is a big temptation to deceive the nations one last time. It might be good to be prepared by learning what God is like now, trusting Him, and obeying Him now. So many people have a Bible in their homes and never open it. Our own thoughts won't do much to make sense of life so I recommend a deep study of the entire Bible, paying particular attention to how it shows you the nature of man and the nature of God. You might find it influences your choices, leading to better outcomes and fewer regrets.
  4. Some people take the fact that Zacharias (Luke's gospel) was in a certain order of priests, who would have had a specific rotation of service, which would have his interaction with Gabriel, and from there extrapolate that it is quite likely that Jesus was born at the time of the Feast of Tabernacles. If you've read in the OT much, you could see where this God-with-us birth would have appropriately fit here, as His death for us took place at the Passover. It wasn't part of their tradition to celebrate birthdays from what I can tell, so the fact that Jesus was born, but not his annual celebration of birth, was the important point. There is no record in the NT of anyone celebrating His birth on an annual basis, and there is a history of later influence into the traditions of the original Christians. By the first few hundred years, we had quite the track record of adding religion to the story. It sounds like you are asking about Epiphany. By the way, the Jews had a calendar that was very different than ours. Their "New Year" was in the late summer/fall, although the first of their months was in the spring. Take a good look at it. Leviticus is a good place, and around the 23rd chapter might be the first place I'd look. You'll likely find you have more questions, but a good look in there will help you see the logic of their calendar. And that's the calendar, more or less, that influenced life in the time and culture when Jesus walked on earth.
  5. I've heard about the pagan roots of Christmas for years because when I was *much* younger, a relative was part of the Jehovah's Witness congregation. So when I came to Jesus Christ and put my trust in Him to forgive my sins and began to study the Bible for myself, I realized the Jehovah's Witness relative was indeed was telling the truth about the holidays and that there just wasn't Scriptural support for what Americans (since this is where I live, I'll limit it to here) were doing as their custom. And of course, today isn't the Christmas of our pasts either. Families that survived the Great Depression had Baby Boomers and between them saw a wave of prosperity that made commercializing Christmas an easy task. Now we have a kind of anti-religion thing going on where it's OK to have a tree and lights but not OK to really have an honest discussion in the general public forum about the Christ of Christmas. We can talk about peace and good will, lol, but it might not get us anywhere if we happen to be of the opposing political party these days. But we've also had a couple of generations grow up with increasing media influence and often much less family interaction, so things are in general getting somewhat skewed as we've become indoctrinated by the constant barrage. But I digress. With this holiday so entrenched in our culture and in our marketplace and economy, I believe it'll be with us for quite some time. Still, it begs the question, in the light of things God was reported to have said about cultures and traditions, whether we really should take a closer look at the reality of what we are doing. Will God really be OK with our justifications and reasons? Did He sanction the holiday to begin with, since after all it's about the birth of Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son? Did He ever give us any indication what He thought of particular holidays? For me the clincher was realizing that God did indeed speak to His special people (and more than anything I want to be part of that group that God calls His) to warn them not to even inquire into the cultures of the land He was giving them, certainly not to emulate them. He clearly told them He didn't want those celebrations incorporated into their lives. At that point, no matter how much I'd tried to spiritualize and Christianize the pagan roots of the holiday, I realized that for me, I could no longer be part of Christmas. I can celebrate that Jesus was born, and I do. I can celebrate that Jesus died for my sins, and I do. I can take on an approximation of the holy days that God commanded, and I have also begun to do this. I appreciate the family love and expressions of good will people give this time of year - and would that we were that kind to each other every day of the year! You know, I can't trifle with the real and living God - He is a consuming fire, and I want to lean as heavily as I can on obedience to what He says because of the great love with which He loved us, and I want to emulate the obedience of Christ as best I can. The Father was pleased with His obedient Son. While we were yet sinners, Christ died for our sins, but what in the world would make us even think that God wants us to stay there? Deuteronomy 18 and Jeremiah 10 are good places to find verses about what God thinks of the customs of the pagans. Leviticus 23 is a good place to see what He laid out for His own. Yea, there are plenty of places in the stories and the prophecies where it may look like God was upset with the traditions He gave them and changed His mind about them, but on close look, it's easy to see God was only upset when they were really missing the point (or refusing to obey it) which led them down the wrong path to an unstable society where they abused and killed their own children, repeatedly going through this same cycle He warned them about before they ever settled beyond the Jordan. It's there. Read it for yourself. Make up your own minds. I have no dog in the fight and no need to convince you. I happen to agree with the concept that it could be really unwise to ignore what we've been doing, it might always be a good idea to do it the way God says, and it's up to you to make up your own mind and walk your own walk. I looked at it for years...and it might be that you also have years left to look at it. Grow daily. One way we show ourselves as His is to love the brethren. One way we show ourselves to be His is to keep His commandments. (Sounds like 1 John to me.) Let's do at least both those.
  6. I just checked it out, Figure of Eighty. Looks like they started arguing already. I was hoping for the stories, and I'm still holding out hope! Thanks for replying!
  7. I am interested to hear from the folks that don't celebrate Christmas. I wonder why you don't and whether you take on any other December holidays instead. I'd like to hear your story, what you do and why you do it. Feel free to include what you think is right or wrong, but I'd appreciate it greatly if you would keep arguments off this particular thread and maybe start a new thread for that. (There's a place for drawing lines, but for this thread, I was hoping it would just be our stories. Fair enough?) I'm also curious about a recent statement that someone made that Jesus would have celebrated Hannukah, so if that's part of your story, elaborate on why you think that was the case. Thanks for sharing your stories!
  8. It is an awkward place when the churches don't speak about the things that are purely Scriptural. There is a place for behaviors (we can't start stealing, lying, and carousing and consider it a Scriptural standard, right?) and there is a big place for encouragement. Both the positions of warning and encouragement are founded. But the fellowship - that is a tough one. Repose offers the solution I've been trying. If you are in a large congregation, here are some options I'd consider if you want to reach out to the people in that congregation. Talk to the pastors/leadership about your hopes for increasing fellowship opportunities and see what happens with this. For one thing, this isn't just YOUR need. You aren't going there to complain about the ache in your heart but rather the real and scriptural need for people to interact. The small groups concept is usually well received and promoted by the large congregations. If you get a negative response, that will also tell you what you need to know. At this meeting, it would be good to develop a plan, and the leadership can speak to this initiative from the pulpit. One plan to reach people quickly in that hectic between services change-out is to greet people with a something in your hand to give them so they can follow up once they are home, like a business card, flyer, or invitation in an envelope. Or you could stay for both services for several weeks for the opportunity to meet more people. Or the leadership may want to bring others into this idea and have several of you as leaders for the fellowship groups. If it doesn't go over well with the church leadership, you can always run an ad on places people look (newspaper, radio, free spots, www.meetup.com or the like) and see what could happen outside of the church walls as a non-church affiliated place for people to gather. Maybe a Bible Study, maybe a social forum of some kind, in your own area. One idea around here lately was called "Raw Scriptures," and the idea was to just read through the Bible at weekly meetings. It has formed the basis for a sense of community, but be prepared for it to go slower than you'd like. I don't know if this reply fits your situation, but it's the answer that came to mind. If you find other good ideas out there, feel free to add them. I'm in much the same place. I hope it goes well with you, HikerMom!
  9. I hear you, Jayne. It's a hard read in places. Our hearts have been so hard. But it was the same Eternal and only God who lovingly gave those stern rules. Jesus followed that law of love when asked about the woman caught in the very act of adultery, showing us how it was intended. (I've always wondered why they let the man go free and only brought the woman, but I've also wondered if that detail of the story speaks volumes.)
  10. The odd thing I found is that when Jesus broke the bonds and set me free, what was happening in my heart was a desire to do what He said - not for the sake of earning this wonderful salvation, but as a joyful response! There are so many of the laws that make sense in some way or other, if we just look. Like women wearing that which pertains to a woman and a man wearing that which pertains to a man. I mean, who can't do that? Why even say so? Well, fast forward to today and you can see where the confusion of the precious roles of gender can really create chaos in our minds. No matter what transgendering surgeries can do, every DNA molecule is right there telling the truth. We'd have been better off just celebrating our gender, and there is much to celebrate! What we wear as male or female is not mandated, but that we present publicly as what we are is mandated, for the good of all. I really like the building of a safety fence around the top of your house so nobody can fall off. Or returning your neighbor's animal. Those things work. Who *can't* keep those? They demonstrate that there is indeed a right way to behave. And they reinforce that to a degree we often want to shirk, we are our brother's keeper. Love works no harm against his neighbor. Are we "saved" by the blood of the ONE obedient Son in order to worship idols, tell lies, sleep with our neighbor's spouse, murder innocent people? Well, obviously not. So we really are "saved" from our past sins in order to finally from the inside out want to serve God acceptably and with the reverence of obedience that shows we trust Him.
  11. Hi Jayne, Having been close friends with a public health person and hearing the enthusiasm for population health, I found it interesting that God set up a national department of health to help isolate contagious concerns among His people and declare which was clean and which was unclean with the authority to make the unclean separate from the masses. For some of those concerns we have public and private labs now (such as mold), and although they may not know it, I know it's the same God behind the concern (mold can be dangerous!) whether they know it or not. I'm glad you mentioned it.
  12. I feel for you, Melinda. Many congregations today are like fast food eateries, a source of inadequate substitutions for what should be there as we meet together to encourage each other not to be hardened by sin's deceitfulness, to feed on His Word together. Frankly, online forums like this often do a better job than the local building assembly. The structure is run like a business, too. It's a set up for failure, although I'm always glad when something good happens there. I heard the gospel message there, for instance. Work with the ones that are working, try to get the ones working that aren't, don't get embittered from unmet expectations (they don't all work), and remember that the congregation God seeks is us collectively and not the building. Thoughts that come to mind as suggestions to consider include: Is there another congregation already established where you can both give and get? Are you strong enough in your faith to help a congregation that has large needs even if it doesn't fill your need and would they allow you to work with them? Is it time to consider opening your home or finding a local spot to encourage a non-church type setting for people to study the Scriptures? God is certainly able to lead if any leadership needed to be established. I hope things go well for you!
  13. The Quran is available online, so you can find what is written there regarding how Islam views various Judeo-Christian ideas. And it is indeed different than we would expect.
  14. Human advice: Someone in our family noted that there are people called narcissists and thought she found help reading about them to break the tendency to return to the cycles of relationship that simply don't work. Maybe this applies here as well. But whether or not, I agree with the good advice you've been given. Scriptural advice: already cited by another caring person. No need to return to an abusive relationship - God has called us to peace. My thoughts: I would encourage that you continue to pray only and not interact since interacting has not been beneficial in the past. And please keep us posted. This area is fraught with dangers and several of us have voiced our concerns for you. I feel sure folks are praying as well as writing!
  15. In the sacrificial system there was an atonement sacrifice once yearly. With Jesus, He gave once for all, and now He lives to intercede for you and you have no further need for a yearly sacrifice. Outcast, you may have tried to slip away but in His love He found you anyways! I'm so glad for you! God granted you repentance and you took it and ran as fast as you could into His loving arms! You needn't worry about that verse now, but it's there to remind you Jesus died once for all, a gift not to be ignored. I appreciate hearing your resolve to run this race with patience! He's provided all you need to complete the course.
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