Tag Archives: CHRISTIAN GROWTH

Causation

cause and effect

Events are the results of causation: intrinsic in every cause is its exact result. We then observe the effect is cause moving though time and space. When we have learned the greatest lesson in life that causation is a singularity or that cause and effect are one, we have arrived with peace where our work and labors produce fruits of enjoyment. Fear, doubt, and anxiety no longer hold us in bondage for our cause is set in motion assuring us an effect founded in faith, hope and love. Hard work is made easy work through knowing that our labor is not in vain. In reality there are no such things as hard work and easy work. There are only repugnant work and enjoyable work.

And I say that life, is indeed darkness save when there is urge,

And all urge is blind save when there is knowledge,

And all knowledge is vain save when there is work,

And when you work with love you bind yourself to yourself, and
to one another, and to God.  — Kahlil Gibran

 

RESPECT

In “respect is a man’s deepest value”, Emerson reports on a national survey in which 400 men were asked which they could endure better: (a) to be left alone and unloved in the world, or (b) to feel inadequate and disrespected by everyone. Seventy-four percent said they would prefer being left alone and unloved over feeling inadequate and disrespected.( Love and Respect pgs 49-52)

RESPECT

This one paragraph hit so close to home that I feel the stab in my back right between the shoulder blades. At the drop of a hat I will respond to the call to war , to protect home and family. Does this mean that I like to fight? That would be a greatly overstated. However God has wired us men that it is not common for us to back down from a good fight or better stated the action of backing down is the result of  the suppression of manliness. Men what does that say about us? To fight and lose is the same as to fight and win. This is called respect. I do not win all my fights in life. I have lost the battle of pride many times. I have lost the battle with lust many more times. I have lost the battle with bitterness and coldness toward others. I have acted in an unloving way to my neighbor, friends, family, wife and my God. I still come back swinging to be humble before my God. A man is not measured by the battles he loses but the number of times he gets back up and comes back swinging. The most boring boxing matches is the one that does not last one round. However respect goes to both men for getting in the ring. We all want to see a long battle that shows the determination of each man willing to stay the course. Truly does it matter who wins? No! except to the bookie and the betting men who do not have the courage to get in the ring! I am not a great fan of boxing or fighting sports but I am a man and I can relate to the why they do what they do. No man truly wants anything other than respect and if respect is not coming leave us alone.

1Co 9_24-27 

We are instructed as men to live in such a way that we do not bring dishonor or disrespect first to God and then to ourselves. Respect is the highest measure of God for it produces Glory. Many times in the scripture we are told to Fear God. The English language is too subjective for this expression. To fear God we recognize that He is supreme in intelligence, power, and might. Everyman esteems to have all three of these qualities. To possess them is wisdom and respect. Some of the most powerful men that have walked on this earth did not have physical stature to move mountains and yet they moved mountains. Power is found in the arm and chest. Power is also found in the intellect. Might is found in the stature of a man. Might is also found in the temper of a man. This is illustrated with diamonds which possess power and hardness. What can match the power and hardness of a diamond?  The fear of God is our view of His intelligence, power and might.

And fear not them which destroy the body, but are not able to destroy the spirit: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both spirit and body in hell. Mat_10:28

Many have been harsh with this passage. Jesus is speaking to us men on a very personal level. Who do you respect?  The same is said of poisonous snakes, lions, bears, crocodiles, and sharks. Make your own list. We give them space for the reason of respect. They have the power to wreck havoc on our body. They are worthy of this respect. You can call this fear if you must. The respect is not found in what they do instead what they are capable of doing.

micah-6_8

Now the million dollar question:  What does God require? He requires the same thing all of us men do, who is made in His image and likeness. Respect! You want respect? Be respectable. God the Father gave us Jesus as an example of being respectable. He loved, He cried, and He laughed. He walked on water not to prove that He is God but to show us that we can do mighty things in His name. Ask Peter! He healed the lame, gave sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf not to prove that He is God but to show us that we have the power to have compassion on the needy and fix broken things. He gave life to the dead not to prove that He is God, but to show us that life is in our words for the building up of those who are around us. Ask Martha. He gave His life on the Cross innocent of every charge brought against Him not as a show of weakness or frailty but as a show of strength found in mercy. Ask the thief beside him on the Cross!  This mercy is to be our strength in this messy world. He was buried in a borrowed grave to show us that our life is not about the monument raised in our name because this is not the end but the beginning. He arose from the Dead to show us that as God he has shown the way through the grave and blazed a trail to greater things than we have ever known. He appeared to the disciples who testify that grave could not hold him and death could not  defeat the power of God and that we to are victorious through Him. We are a victorious people who though we may lose battles WIN THE WAR. He did this for you and so much more. This is RESPECT. This is GLORY.

Men we all want respect. Fact is we need respect. We are wired for respect. Respect begins with a relationship with Christ and following the example He has set before us. What this means is that we fight for character and integrity. We evaluate our lives and take corrective actions to be men of faith, men of courage, men of honor, and men of integrity. We go through the furnace and temper our words and actions. We do justly, love mercy and walk humbly with our God!

1-Corinthians_2-9

Too Many Mind!

Too Many Thoughts

too many mind

We humans think altogether too much on altogether too many things. In the space of a split second our minds may entertain a mishmash of unconnected ideas and half formed notions such as could not be found on the printed page outside of Wikipedia. We jump haphazard from one idea to the next, unguided, unguarded, unfiltered and clutching on to whatever is blasted at us across the moving screen of mind and declaring it to be real. We start the Subconscious Mind moving in one direction, halt it, start it off in another, recall it, send it off again, recall it, literally hundreds of times each day.

We have developed habits of utterly undisciplined thinking. Worse still, very often where any discipline is present it is aimed at negative thinking. One moment we are happy and entertain happy thoughts. Then a shadow crosses the face of the mind, and we entertain morbid thoughts. A friend pays us a compliment, and we feel important and vain. An acquaintance criticizes us, and we entertain thoughts of resentment and bitterness. We wait for stimulus from outside to determine what thoughts we will accept and which we will reject. Consequently we become victims of every wind that blows and every twig that falls, and the temper of our lives is determined by countless unending streams of circumstances over which we have no control.

Rare in fact is the man that disciplines himself to accept only positive thoughts and beliefs. Rare is the man that is firm in his faith and foundation, who out waits the world to achieve his ends.

The sea and the mountain, the storm and the stars shall not persevere against such a man, and he shall move the very ends of the earth: Faith that moves mountains and the faith that by shear thought transplants a tree in the ocean.

DO WE THINK?

Do we think? This many well be the trillion dollar question. Could it be that we as human beings have been deceived into believing that we think or better said we make thought? It is strange that we should believe this, since we have no concept or perception where a thought comes and from what it is made. Even so most treatises on the mind maintain that man imagines and makes up thoughts. Yet a vigilant investigation of the process of thought, you will find that we observe thoughts instead of making thought. You will find that thought is a stream or a river that flows across the conscious mind more like a screen projection. These thoughts parade across your consciousness in a never-ending stream, following one upon the other incessantly.

Some you select and add to you, others you reject and send on their way. But the plain and irrevocable fact is that it is not you who sets the stream of thoughts in motion. If you doubt this, try to stop it!

streams of thought

Do not despair! You will find that all your efforts cannot stop your thinking, for the essence of being is observation, contemplation, and comprehension; and though you may slow the stream of thoughts even to a focal point, and examine each thought presented to you with diligent care, still they come.  These thoughts come from out of nowhere, displaying before your consciousness word pictures and images, demanding of you to establish a position: accept or reject. You are demanded to evaluate truth and fiction, right and wrong, real and fantasy.

Consider the writer who sits keyboard in hand. Does this writer “think up” the story? Does this writer “think up” the characters or plot? The writer unequivocally puts himself in a position of someone who is going to write.  The process is simple from this vantage point. He then observes the thoughts and ideas that cross the conscious mind accepting or rejecting until the ideas which appeals to him is settled. This idea he takes and examines places him in position not only to observe thought but in a position of writing a story about a man who is, let us say, standing in the middle of a busy city street. He wonders how he arrived there and the stream of thoughts come, and he accepts one, and now he is writing a story of a man who is going to meet his future wife. With each question and resulting thoughts that stream by the plot, characters and story line emerge. In no way shape or form does he “think them up. Fact is he has rejected far more thought that he has accepted.  His entire story, once completed and written, is merely evidence of the thousands of ideas he has accepted from the thoughts that have streamed through his mind. He has not thought up a thing; he has simply exercised choice. His story tells you what he has accepted; nothing will ever tell you the millions of ideas and thoughts which he has rejected.

WE CHOOSE THOUGHTS

Though it is a far stretch to say we author the story of our life; Like the writer who authors a story, each of us observes the life script of our lives and how we deal with the thoughts we accept and reject. Each of our lives is a story, unfolded by the silent contemplative Self who dwells within us, who does nothing more than accept and reject, who is involved only in making choices. This indwelling Self says, this is the law of nature and the law of God. All thought then becomes a matter of acceptance or rejection of these truths:  “This is so,” “This is not so,” “I believe this,”  “I do not believe this,” “There is hope,” “There is despair.” And each of these choices is manifested in the physical world.

We are today living testimonies to the choices that have been made from the thoughts that have streamed through our minds. We are literally products of the thoughts accepted or rejected. We are what we believe, that only, nothing more or less.

We are admonished to hold every thought captive!

2Co 10:3-5 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:  (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

The Spirit of God within us is teaching us to accept only good. The Spirit of God within us is teaching us to reject all evil by bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ!

Col 3:1-2, 12-16  If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.

Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;

Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.

And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.

And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

We are deliberately compelling ourselves to accept the things that build us up and add value to our lives. This includes the values listed in scripture whereas these values are health and strength to us.

Consider these word carefully:

Gal 5:19-23  Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

We are deliberately compelling ourselves to reject all suffering, all sorrow, all depression, all morbidity, all inferiority, all aches and pains. We know that we are only what we accept from the thoughts that come to us, and more than ever the wisdom of Jesus is brought home, “As ye believe, so shall it be done unto you.”

St. Augustine wrote:

I, Lord, went wandering like a strayed sheep, seeking Thee with anxious reasoning without, whilst Thou wast within me. I went round the streets and squares of the city seeking thee; and I found thee not, because in vain I sought without for him who was within myself.

Heed the Holy Spirit in the recesses of your being. Know that to him all things are possible, according to what he accepts. You are what you choose to be, and your choice is made in the mind. Seek the high and forsake the low. A man adds all things unto himself simply by taking a position with impregnable faith.

mustard seed faith

As a reflection know that “as a man thinks in his heart, so he is” (Prov. 23:7). However the limitation of this statement is based on our view and maturity. Consider the mustard seed as given by parable by Jesus. If you have the faith the size of a mustard seed you would be able to say to a mountain be moved or to a tree be transplanted in the sea. Paul said, “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me”. Do you believe? How big is your faith? Dare to believe and have courage to stay the course. This we know that at the end of life the person who loves much, laughs much has lived much will view life as having much to show. The opposite or negative of this is true as well. The person who has loved little, laughed little has lived little and will view life as having little to show.

Prayer:

Father grant to me discernment to accept the thoughts that flood through my mind that add value. Grant faith that moves mountains in my life and restore to me the joy of my salvation. Grant me grace that moves my view from my own and this world to your view. Let me see your thoughts toward me and allow me to see myself as you see me and accept the thoughts you have accepted toward me. Give me discernment to reject the thoughts that will unleash evil and the consequences of this evil in and through my life. Restore health and vigor to my life, mind and spirit.

Additional scripture reference

Gen_6:5  And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

Psa_10:4  The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts.

Psa_33:11  The counsel of the LORD standeth for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations.

Psa_40:5  Many, O LORD my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are to us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered.

Psa_94:19  In the multitude of my thoughts within me thy comforts delight my soul.

Pro_12:5  The thoughts of the righteous are right: but the counsels of the wicked are deceit.

Jer_29:11  For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

Heb_4:12  For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Faith is a Matter of Life

“He has given all we need pertaining to life and godliness”

We have complete faith that the food we eat will turn into blood, bone, muscle, tissue and fiber, yet we do not know why, or what causes it, and even the most erudite of us can do no more than follow the chemical process with awe. We have faith that the air we breathe will oxygenate out blood and combine to form energy for the cells of our bodies. We don’t stop to wonder or doubt or analyze this each time we draw a breath; we simply breathe, confident that we are getting what we need. We have faith that the sun will rise, that the earth will revolve uniformly, that the stars will maintain their places in the heavens. We have faith that we can walk across the street, even sit on a chair and converse with people all day long with comprehension and understanding. We have faith in our own existence! Yet we admit we know the cause of none of these things. Our faith is blind! How strange it is that we so often scoff at faith in the less tangible fields of human existence! How strange it is that so we often mock others in the less tangible areas of the human existence!

We are told if we have faith the size of mustard seed we could say to this mountain “be removed” and that we could by word only say to this tree “be uprooted and thrown into the sea”. How very little is our faith that we cannot even measure it to a mustard seed! We have complete faith in the natural processes of our existence and shirk the faith to believe that God who placed us in this world provides all we need pertaining life and godliness. We draw back from embracing His love and care. We run from His grace and not to His grace scoffing and mocking our very existence. How strange! We live by faith and deny faith in the same breath. We draw air by faith and exhale faithlessness.

I believe Lord Help my unbelief!

Seek and find

Ask, seek and knock. Jesus encourages us to come to the Father who has all and is able and willing to give. Over the years I have witnessed this to be true. This is not some mystical search rather something that is more logical and spiritual.

 

We either work in accord to the power of the Holy Spirit within us or by opposing it destroy ourselves.

 

“He who seeks finds”, Jesus says. I have found this to work even in the negativity of this world. He who abandons search as hopeless will find a hopeless life. Amazingly the search does not stop and search is fulfilled albeit hopelessness. The question is what are we really searching. What do we really want? And why do we want it? Seeking does not take much effort. Seeking for any length of time may prove to test our patience. Therein is part of our problem. Our culture has destroyed perseverance as acceptable. Technology has stepped in to be our new god providing right now what we want or at least what the technology tells we want. Shamefully we have forgotten what we need and really want. We need and want lasting relationships starting with our creator. Our first breath was recognition that we can not do this life alone. We Cried out at birth hold me, feed me, clothe me. What has changed? We then cried out please save me, I can not save myself Jesus. What has changed? We are needy and want. This is natural.

“You have not because you ask not,” once again we are reminded. Stand at the counter in your favorite restaurant and say nothing and your will get exactly that, nothing.  What do you really want? and Why? Take these request to God. Be courageous and fervent! We know that the fervent prayer of a righteous person avails much. So do not give up in hopelessness. Your answer is coming either to correct your wants and whys or the thing that you have asked for. In both you have received your need and want.

Marriage: Two Become One

The Woman at the well (John 4) paints a picture of mercy and grace granted by Christ. I have read this passage and preached this passage many times over the last 30 years. I am confounded, amazed and astounded every time I read the passage.

Imagine for a moment the position of this Samaritan woman as she approaches the well of Jacob at midday. She is broken, tormented by her transgressions of God and man. She has been used by men and abused by the culture and society she lives. For her this is life. She represents in many ways what is wrong with our messy world. Pragmatically she is the common woman. She is as God designed yet she’s bound by circumstance, culture and sin that easily beset every human being. As I read this passage I am filled with compassion. Yet we live in a world just like this setting and we have people just like her around us. In many ways we are just like her. I ask the myself “do I have compassion for the people around me who have her kind of story?” She is married 5 times and lives with a man who is not her husband. She represents the licentious, immoral, depraved, profligate and scandalous life. Many would call her a harlot. I imagine though she was called a free spirit and in some circles lived a life that other were jealous. Why? The praise of man is more sought than the scorn of society. She lived with the scorn with a level of freedom. I can imagine that every woman in the village warned their husbands to give wide girth to this loose woman. Fear of conflict kept both men and women at bay restricting the influence this woman has to only the debased and depraved culture that enslaves her to a life of scandal and scorn. This scene is so familiar to us in today’s society that it is like watching afternoon soaps or evening sitcoms.

In times past I have gotten so caught up with the story that I have overlooked the scene and the principles taught by Christ. Jesus comes to this woman to teach her that the day has arrived He is revealing His Deity. Very clearly He states that the day has come that He the Son of God will be worshiped in Spirit and Truth. This is the Purpose of His meeting her at the well. There are many more lessons to be learned in this passage that is not stated yet are taught none the less.

Jesus first tells this woman that if she knew who He was she would ask Him for living water. What does Jesus mean by this statement?  To know Jesus is the prerequisite to the question. Who is Jesus Christ? Plainly stated in

Colossians 1:15-18  “Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:  And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.

Who is Jesus Christ? I love this picture because the One who created this woman before the foundation of the world is speaking personally to her. He is her creator. He is my creator and He is your creator.

What is this “living water”? Jesus reveals to this woman an evil that has darkened the landscape of earth.

Jer 2:9-13   Wherefore I will yet plead with you, saith the LORD, and with your children’s children will I plead. For pass over the isles of Chittim, and see; and send unto Kedar, and consider diligently, and see if there be such a thing. Hath a nation changed their gods, which are yet no gods? but my people have changed their glory for that which doth not profit. Be astonished, O ye heavens, at this, and be horribly afraid, be ye very desolate, saith the LORD. For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.

She catches on to His statement. She asks Him “Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well…”? She is pricked by His comments and after Jesus tells her to call for her husband she replies “Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet. Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.” The issue is the living water or the place of contentment, satisfaction, peace, joy and safety. The design of this woman by God was to have the fountain of living waters not the land of dry sand that cannot hold water. She was designed with purpose and Jesus seeks her out personally. She is caught not in adultery, but idolatry. The base of her problems is her view of God. She is caught in Idolatry believing she is worshiping her creator; However she is not sure even about this view. She is caught in the theological debate where to worship. She is caught in religion with no way to divide the word of truth. Underlying is the question “what is truth?” She is less concerned with what is truth and more concerned with which truth to follow. From this passage I believe she understood that truth is coupled with the expression “just because you can does not mean you should”. An extreme example of this is exemplified with the hydrogen atom. We are capable of splitting the atom this is true. However to split the atom brings mass destruction. Truth at this point is not the question. Which truth to follow is the unspoken question. The “living water” answers the question for her. We are to worship every day, everywhere all the time. Later we would hear these words from Paul a very religious person who met Jesus and his life was dramatically changed, “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”

We cannot escape the scene with our hearing the rest of the story. To easily we could walk away from this scene and Say, Amen. The scene though draws us in deep. Deep calls to deep in this passage. This woman goes back to the village and I am convinced just as Christ created her exemplified her God given personality. As an evangelist personality she has discovered information that everyone should hear about. Further she has had a life changing experience she is by design compelled to tell everyone who is close to her and will give audience.

John 4: 28-30  The woman then left her waterpot, and went her way into the city, and saith to the men, Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ? Then they went out of the city, and came unto him.

I speculate that the men in this scene are her five husbands and possibly the man she lives with. However there may be others who, like her, find themselves in bondage of circumstance and culture. I would like to propose once again that this woman was caught in Idolatry not necessarily adultery. This is not situation ethics. Though we have little information in this passage we do have historical accounts that give us some clarity in understanding this passage and more importantly the institution we call marriage.

I am ashamed that I was unable to see this scene over the years due to a view that is not wholesome. We can make assumption that prevent us from seeing clearly what is set before us. We assume that this woman is married and divorced 5 times and now is shacked up with a man whom she is immorally involved. However this is not stated. She is married 5 times and she is living with a man that she is not married. There is no indication she is physically involved with this man. We get the indication that she simply serves more as a servant than wife. She is at the well to draw water for the household it would seem. So what do we see in this scene and what can we ascertain from the testimony of Christ and this woman?

We must comprehend the times which this woman lives. For simplicity and personalization I will call her Samantha (Samaritan Woman). Samantha’s culture is a male driven world where females are typically property. Samantha does not have rights to own property or own a business. Imagine now her plight. We do not know and cannot know the why or how she ended up in the circumstances she faces. However many scenarios could play out the same way. She could have been an unwanted child forced to the streets at any age or by losing her father to death with no redeeming man to take her mother (orphan). Male children were not typically abandoned unless they were lame because they carried on the family name and inherited the estate. We see a similar circumstance in the book of Ruth. Ruth could have become Samantha having no husband alive to care for her and provide proper living quarters. We don’t know the why and how she ended up on the streets but we do know that she is on the streets and not in a respectable nature. The very nature of property ownership carries the preclusion that the property must be useful and wanted. Obviously she was needed 5 times and not wanted 5 times. She is passed around like a cup of wine giving a pleasure for a time and left empty. Samantha at this time is in dire straits needing a level of security and safety. I observe she is also in need to be gainfully employed or stated another way need to serve for room and board.  I am persuaded this is why she is shacking with the 6th man and he is not her husband. This calls into question what is marriage that one could be married 5 times with no divorce. This is not easy to accept by our current view of marriage. We assume marriage as a legal binding agreement with ceremony and contracts . However this has not always been and in this case most assuredly. Find a marriage in scripture like our marriage ceremony today. Trace marriage back as far as you can in scripture and you will find no ceremony. You however do find celebration of marriage. Marriage therefore is the union of a man and woman physically. Marriage was consummated by witnesses during or after the fact. We find it unfathomable to have a marriage consummation in our private society.  Privacy was not as common as it is today. Poor married couples rarely had their own private chambers, and wealthy couples had servants sleeping on the floor at the foot of the bed. We see Ruth sleeping as a servant at the foot of Boaz. (Ruth 3:8) Therefore most people were shameless or unembarrassed by something considered natural and good between a husband and wife. Jacob was surprised to find Leah in his bed come morning when the witnesses came to consummate His marriage to Rachael. He was deceived in to believing he was marrying Rachael, only for Leah to be placed in his bed chamber during the darkness of night. That night he married Leah and seven years later he married Rachael. (Gen 29: 21-28). Marriage by this definition is sexual intercourse.  Consummation then was cause for celebration. It goes without saying that without the marriage there is no celebration. Anything could happen prior to this union negating the necessary of the celebration. The two become one flesh is the biblical definition of marriage and more importantly is the origin of the word.

Samantha is not unlike many who we read in scripture that has more than one spouse. Jacob had 4 wives. We commonly recognize two Leah and Rachael. Leah and Rachael both gave handmaids to Jacob for the purpose of having children. The 12 tribes of Israel are from 4 women 1 man. Jacob tended to the needs and cared for his wives and large family. He was devoted to the family God had given. There is a distinct difference in Samantha’s circumstances and situation. She has had a union with 5 men whom seemingly are unable to care for her or are unwilling to take care of her. In the same way other marriages in scripture are reported she has 5 husbands. The absence of other reports of women having more than one husband is in part due to a male dominated society (lack of documentation) and in part to commonality of these relationships. In no way does this validate these relationships making these truth models to be followed. Once again we are faced with truth that must be divided:  just because you can does not mean you should. Marriage is not a ceremony or a contract. Marriage is designed to be a union that meets the physical and emotional need of a man and woman. Procreation from this union is God’s design to establish the first institution called a family. The success of this institution is dependent on our view of God which Samantha is learning in this story. For this reason Jesus does not condemn her as an adulterer. She is married to 5 men. She has found solace in the home of another man that is benign: a mere boarding arrangement. I see a life that is broken, battered and bruised to the point of survival. God has designed for our lives more than surviving till our last breath. He has designed with purpose a life that is thriving.

This raises questions concerning promiscuity in our culture and multiple partners prior to ceremonial contractual marriage.  Further this raises questions concerning “live in” couples that fall under common law. The church in general does not recognize marriage without a contract signed between man and woman or at minimum exchanging of vows. This raises questions concerning the doctrines accepted and taught. Marriage is a serious matter to God. I believe there is a clearly drawn line that God has drawn which lends understanding to the concepts of equally yoked couples. Whereas choose carefully the man you are getting involved with or choose carefully the woman you are getting involved with. I can only imagine if “The Samaritan Woman” had a view of God that she got that day at Jacobs Well how different her life would have been.

Forgive and Forget

Forgiveness is not forgetting the pain, but choosing to forgive daily that which caused the pain and rejoicing in the lesson learned and being free from the bondage of bitterness. –N. Green

Most confuse forgive with forget. Though God places our transgressions in the sea of forgetfulness, we do not have the ability or the capacity to do the same.

Heb 8:12  For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.

Mic 7:19  He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.

Forgiveness of others and ourselves is something we choose to do every day or when it is brought to our remembrance. Never forget that today is everyday, yesterday is gone and tomorrow never comes for when it arrives it is today. We live everyday with regrets and those regrets can make us better or bitter. I make note the prayer model we are taught by Christ referred to as the Lord’s Prayer.

Mat 6:9-13  After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever.  Amen.

This is a daily prayer that is our benefit to pray (as a model) because it reminds us that praise starts with God the Father and our forgiveness is linked to our forgiving others and may I stress ourselves. If I am unwilling to grant myself forgiveness am I truly forgiving others? Logically speaking forgiveness is not an apology rather the attitude I will not hold the transgression in judgment of condemnation. Likewise, God does not hold our transgression in judgment of condemnation because the wage of the sin has been paid on the cross. Furthermore guilt is a natural response to transgression and should not be suppressed rather accepting the guilt as a gift of God that keeps our hearts tender and pliable. Feel the guilt yes! Praise God for His mercy and Grace. Ask for the corrective action that restores our relationship with Christ. Then join David in Psalm 51 so you can join the fellowship of transgressors who learning the mercy of God can teach others by your experience

Psa 51:1-19  To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet came unto him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba.

Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.

Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.

For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.

Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.

Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.

Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice.

Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities.

Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.

Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.

Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.

Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.

Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation: and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness.

O Lord, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise.

For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering.

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.

Do good in thy good pleasure unto Zion: build thou the walls of Jerusalem

Then shalt thou be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness, with burnt offering and whole burnt offering: then shall they offer bullocks upon thine altar.

Forgive yes!  Feel regret, yes! Never forget the experience and be ready to give an account for the Hope that you have in the mercy of God and His Grace!