Blackaby: Take Heart, Spring is Around the Corner

Blackaby_11172014Richard Blackaby. 2012. The Seasons of God:  How the Shifting Patterns of Your Life Reveal His Purposes for You. Colorado Springs:  Multnomah Books.

Review by Stephen W. Hiemstra

“You have to know when to cut bait and when to go fishing.”

Whoever said it first was certainly a fishing expert. A good friend of mine, who is an obsessive fisherman that actually put himself through school working in fisheries, advised:  the time to fish is at twilight—morning and evening.  I never caught a fish with an artificial lure until the day I followed his advice.  Timing is everything if you want to catch fish.

Richard Blackaby’s book, The Seasons of God, builds on the basic premise of King Solomon (7):  For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven (Ecclesiastes 3:1 ESV).  Blackaby (3) writes:

This book explores something that involves getting your timing right for all you do and where you do it.  It’s about being free to really enjoy what you’re doing and where you’re doing—and to make the most of the experience.

Blackaby (13) reminds us also of the Apostle Paul’s observation that: at the right time Christ died for the ungodly (Rom 5:6 ESV).

Blackaby (24-41) summarzes his observations about timing in a chapter entitled: Ten Laws of the Seasons of Life.  These laws are:

  1. Each of us experiences repeated cycles in life that are profoundly mirrored in the seasons we see in nature.
  2. These seasons are more than simply a metaphor for aging.
  3. Each season is unique and adds important dimensions to life.
  4. Our seasons follow a set order.
  5. Our seasons vary in length and intensity—and in what they require from us.
  6. The way we handle one season profoundly impacts how we experience the seasons that follow.
  7. We can—and often do—fail to recognize and understand our particular season.
  8. Understanding our seasons of life requires a vital, open, trusting relationship with God.
  9. We experience different seasons in different aspects of our lives.
  10. We are meant to thrive in every season.

This last point is terribly important—thriving is God’s will for our lives and his guidance is the key to making the most of each season (40).

The four seasons of life are taken from nature.  Blackaby (25-26) describes them as follows:

  1. Spring is about potential, promise, and possibilities.
  2. Summer is a time of growth and maturation.
  3. Autumn is the season of harvest.
  4. Winter is a season of winding down—withdrawal, retreat, and closure.

Problems (47) arise when we are impatient for the next season (season rushers) or refuse to give up the previous season (season graspers).  I am more prone to impatience—friends used to say that I was born 16 years old—but we all know someone who reports their age on their birthday as 29—again.  Getting stuck in a particularly happy season or particularly sad season seems to be a pattern repeated in many unhappy lives.

Blackaby’s book is written in 3 parts:  Embracing the Pattern, Embracing each Season, and Thriving in All Our Seasons.  These parts are composed of 29 chapters.  Chapters 6 through 25 are found in part 2 where Blackaby introduces a classification system:  4 seasons described in 4 areas of life.  The seasons are listed above; the 4 areas of life affected by the seasons are: your identity, your relationships, your roles, and your faith (58-60).  The first and third parts of the book introduce the subject, summarize the lessons learned, and suggest what to do with it.

Many people will want to skip straight to chapter 28:  With Joy Comes Laughter.  Here Blackaby talks about how to have fun.  How do you become a joy-producing person? (238)  Blackaby suggests house decorations (240), a chocolate fountain (241), a costume closet (241), holiday themes (242), and homemade movies (242).  Richard: please invite me to your home sometime!

Blackaby’s writing has been influential in my walk with the Lord.  Although I was exposed to Experiencing God[1] in my church, I actually spent more time with Hearing God’s Voice[2].  It was about a year later that I began to sense a call into pastoral ministry.  Blackaby’s The Seasons of God is a good holiday read and a thoughtful book anytime.  It may change your life.

[1] Henry T. Blackaby and Claude V. King.  1990.  Knowing and Doing the Will of God. Nashville:  Lifeway Press.

[2] Henry and Richard Blackaby.  2002.  Hearing God’s Voice.  Nashville:  Broadman and Holman Publishers.

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Why Exercise?

Stephen W. Hiemstra, Soccer, 1983
Stephen W. Hiemstra, Soccer, 1983

Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. (1 Cor 6:18–20)

Why Exercise?

By Stephen W. Hiemstra

Which spiritual discipline should I focus on?

Sin distracts and separates us from God. The spiritual disciplines of highest value target sins to which we, as Americans, are especially vulnerable—sexual immorality and gluttony. Both are sins against the body.

Where Does Sin Begin?

Jesus is clear when he says that sin begins in the heart. On the question of adultery, he says: “everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matt 5:28) This statement is immediately followed by hyperbole about chopping off body parts that lead to sin [1]. This transition from heart to body is an example of how the body and mind are unified [2].

Unity of Body, Mind, and Spirit

The best example of the unity of body and mind applied to spiritual disciplines is found in Henri Nouwen’s book, Reaching Out. Nouwen describes our spiritual journey as a unity of three dimensions—reaching inward to ourselves; reaching outward to others; and reaching upwards to God. In ourselves, we move from being lonely to becoming content in solitude. With our relationships with others, we move from hostility to hospitality. In our relationship with God, we move from illusion to prayer (Nouwen 1975, 15). The paradox of this unity in three dimensions is that progress in one dimension makes progress in the others easier.

Spiritual Movements

This linkage of spiritual progress in different dimensions is especially important in dealing with sins of the body. Sins against the body invariably involve mild to severe addictions—obsessive behaviors that we repeatedly engage in. When we allow ourselves our “little indulgences”, they spread to other aspects of our life. Bad behaviors turn into bad habits that turn into bad lifestyles. Undertaking a “fast” in vulnerable areas of our lives can nip bad behaviors early in the process. Gerald May (1988, 177) writes: “It all comes down to quitting it, not engaging in the next addictive behavior, not indulging in the next temptation.” Physical discipline, accordingly, works to cleanse the whole system.

Why exercise?

The simple answer is because your body is the temple of God. We are under obligation to ourselves and to God to keep our temple clean. A more nuanced answer is that the physical disciplines grant us strength to discipline other, less obvious, areas of our lives. The body and the mind are inseparable—physical exercise is a kind of beach assault on our island of sin [3]. Beach assaults, like the one on Iwo Jima during the Second World War [4], are risky but the payoff is huge. Ironically, when we exercise we often exhibit less interest in food, alcohol, even tobacco because we are more relaxed and self-confident.

Assessment

In clinical pastoral education we were taught to look for dissidence between words and the body language of patients that we visited. This disharmony between words and body language is, of course, a measure of truth. In like manner, the biblical paradigm of beauty is that the truth of an object matches its appearance [5]. Did I mention that body and mind are closely bound together?

Footnotes

[1]  I wonder, which body part is really in view here?

[2] Macchia (2012, 104) writes: “Your personal rule of life is formatted and reflected in your . . . physical priorities (the care and training of your body, mind, and heart).”

[3] Reynolds (2012), who writes almost exclusively on a biblical perspective on weight-loss, notes that the first sin in the Bible is a temptation involving food (Gen 3:1–6).

[4]  Japan is a family of islands. In February 1945, United States amphibious forces landed on the Japanese island of Iwo Jima. There they engaged the Japanese military in one of the bloodiest battles during the war.

[5] “Our modern images feature surface and finish; Old Testament images present structure and character. Modern images are narrow and restrictive; theirs were broad and inclusive…For us beauty is primarily visual; their idea of beauty included sensations of light, color, sound, smell, and even taste” (Dyrness 2001, 81).

REFERENCES

Dyrness, William A. 2001. Visual Faith: Art, Theology, and Worship in Dialogue. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic.

Macchia, Stephen A. 2012. Crafting a Rule of Life: An Invitation to the Well-Ordered Way. Downers Grove: IVP Books.

May, Gerald G. 1988. Addiction and Grace: Love and Spirituality in the Healing of Addictions. New York: HarperOne.

Nouwen, Henri J. M. 1975. Reaching Out: The Three Movements of the Spiritual Life. New York: DoubleDay.

Reynolds, Steve and MG Ellis. 2012. Get Off the Couch: 6 Motivators to Help You Lose Weight and Start Living. Ventura: Regal.

 

Also see:

Christian Spirituality

Looking Back 

Other ways to engage online:

Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net, Publisher site: http://www.T2Pneuma.com.

Newsletter at: http://bit.ly/2vfisNa

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¿Por Qué Ejercicios?

Stephen W. Hiemstra, 1983
Stephen W. Hiemstra, 1983

Huyan de la fornicación. Todos los demás pecados que un hombre comete están fuera del cuerpo, pero el fornicario peca contra su propio cuerpo. ¿O no saben que su cuerpo es templo del Espíritu Santo que está en ustedes, el cual tienen de Dios, y que ustedes no se pertenecen a sí mismos? (1 Cor 6:18-19 NBH)

Por Stephen W. Hiemstra

¿Cuál de las disciplinas espirituales yo debiera centrarse en?

Los pecados distraen y separan nos de Dios. Las disciplinas espirituales de lo más valor enfoquen por pecados los que nosotros somos especialmente vulnerable—inmoralidad sexual y gula. Ambos son pecados contra el cuerpo.

Jesús es claro cuando él dice que los pecados empieza en la corazón. Por la pregunta de adultera, él dice: “Pero Yo les digo que todo el que mire a una mujer para codiciarla ya cometió adulterio con ella en su corazón.” (Matt 5:28 NBH) Esta declaración se sigue inmediatamente por hipérbole sobre cortando ciertas partes del cuerpo que siguiere a los pecados [1]. Esta transición de corazón a cuerpo es una ejemplo de como el cuerpo y la mente están unificado [2].

Lo mejor ejemplo de la unidad del cuerpo y la mente se aplica a las disciplinas espiritual se encuentra en el libro de Henri Nouwen: Reaching Out (Alcanza a cabo). Nouwen describe nuestro camino espiritual como una unidad de tres dimensiones—alcance hacia el interior de nosotros mismo; alcanza hacia fuera a los demás; y alcanza hacia arriba a Dios. Adentro de nosotros mismo, nos movemos desde la soledad de convertirse en contenido en la soledad. En nuestra relaciones con los demás, nos movemos de hostilidad a hospitalidad. En nuestra relaciones con Dios, nos movemos de ilusión a oración (Nouwen 1975, 15). La paradoja de esta unidad en tres dimensiones es que progreso en una dimensión hace que el progreso en los demás más fácil.

Esta vinculación del progreso espiritual en las dimensiones diferente es importante especialmente en el trato con pecados del cuerpo. Los pecados contra el cuerpo invariablemente implican leves a graves adicciones—comportamientos obsesivo que nos involucramos en repetidas ocasiones. Si permitimos nuestros “indulgencias pequeñas”, se extendió a otros aspectos de nuestra vida. Los comportamientos males convierten a hábitos malos que convierten en estilos de vida malo. A ayuna en áreas vulnerables de nuestras vidas pueden cortar los comportamientos malos al principio del proceso. Gerald May (1988, 177) escribe: “Todo se reduce a dejar de fumar que, no participar en la próxima comportamiento adictivo, no caer en la próxima tentación.” [3] Por esta razón, la disciplina física obra a limpiarse toda la sistema.

¿Por qué ejercicios? La respuesta fácil es porque tu cuerpo es el templo de Dios. Somos bajo un obligación a nosotros mismo y a Dios a mantener nuestro templo limpia. Una respuesta más sofisticado es que las disciplinas físicas nos otorgan la energia a disciplinar otras, menos obvio áreas de nuestras vidas. El cuerpo y la mente son inseparables—ejercicios física es una especie de asalto playa de las isla de nuestros pecados [4]. Invasiones de playas, como la invasión en Iwo Jima durante las Guerra Mundial Segunda [5], son riesgosas pero la recompensa es enorme. Es irónico extrañamente que cuando ejercitamos que frecuentemente demostramos menos interés en alimentos, alcohol, aun tabaco porque somos mas relajado y seguro de sí mismo.

En mi clase de cuidado pastoral [6], nos enseñaron que buscar por disidente entre las palabras y la lenguaje corporal de las pacientes que visitamos. Esta desharmonia entre las palabras y lenguaje corporal es, naturalmente, una medida de la verdad. Por lo mismo manera, la paradigma bíblica de belleza es que la verdad de un objeto coincide su aparición” [7]. ¿Me menciono que el cuerpo y la mente están estrechamente vinculado juntas?

[1]  Me pregunto: ¿cual parte de cuerpo es realmente enfoque aquí?

[2] Macchia (2014, 104) escribe: “Su regla de la vida personal es formado y se reflecta en su . . . Prioridades físicas (el cuido y formando de su cuerpo, mente, y corazón).” [“Your personal rule of life is formed and reflected in your . . . physical priorities (the care and training of your body, mind, and heart).”]

[3] “It all comes down to quitting it, not engaging in the next addictive behavior, not indulging in the next temptation.”

[4] Reynolds (2012), quien escribe casi exclusivamente por una perspectiva bíblica de la pérdida de peso, observa que el primer pecado en la Bíblica es una tentación que involucra alimentos (Gen 3:1-6).

[5] Japón es una nación de islas. En Febrero 1945, las esfuerzas anfibias de los Estadios Unidos desembarcaron en la isla Japones de Iwo Jima y lucharon con la militaría Japones durante una batía que era una de los más sangriento de la guerra.

[6] Educación Pastoral Clínica [Clinical Pastoral Education]

[7] Nuestras imagines modernas enfoquen por superficie y acabado; Las imágenes del Testamento Antiguo presentan estructura y carácter. Las imágenes modernas son estrecha y restrictiva; ellos eran amplia y inclusivo . . . Para nosotros la belleza es principalmente visual; su idea de belleza incluyeron sensaciones de luz, color, olor, y también aun sabor” [“Our modern images feature surface and finish; Old Testament images present structure and character. Modern images are narrow and restrictive; theirs were broad and inclusive…For us beauty is primarily visual; their idea of beauty included sensations of light, color, sound, smell, and even taste”] (Dyrness 2001, 81).

REFERENCIAS

Dyrness, William A. 2001. Visual Faith: Art, Theology, and Worship in Dialogue. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic.

Macchia, Stephen A. 2012. Crafting a Rule of Life: An Invitation to the Well-Ordered Way. Downers Grove: IVP Books.

May, Gerald G. 1988. Addiction and Grace: Love and Spirituality in the Healing of Addictions. New York: HarperOne.

Nouwen, Henri J. M. 1975. Reaching Out: The Three Movements of the Spiritual Life. New York: DoubleDay.

Reynolds, Steve and MG Ellis. 2012. Get Off the Couch: 6 Motivators to Help You Lose Weight and Start Living. Ventura: Regal.

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Prayer Day 9: A Christian Guide to Spirituality by Stephen W. Hiemstra

Available on Amazon.com
Available on Amazon.com

God of all wonders. We praise you for Mary’s faithfulness and Jesus’ miraculous birth. Bridge the gaps of holiness, time, and space between us. Open our minds to the miracles that we experience daily but neglect to think about. Open our hearts to accept your will for our lives. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Amen.

Dios de todas las maravillosas. Te alabamos por la fidelidad de María y el nacimiento milagroso de Jesús. Puente la brecha de santidad, tiempo, y espacio entre nosotros. Abre nuestra mentes a los milagrosos que experimentamos cotidiana pero se olvidan de considerar. Abre nuestros corazones a aceptar tu voluntad por nuestras vidas. En el nombre del Padre, el Hijo, y el Espíritu Santo, Amén.

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Why Devote Time to Daily Prayer?

Albrecht Durer, 1508
Albrecht Durer, 1508

And the whole city was gathered together at the door. And he healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons . . . And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed. (Mark 1:33–35)

By Stephen W. Hiemstra

Jesus modeled daily prayer.

The Gospel of Luke records the most instances in which Jesus prays. The first instance of prayer is during his baptism when Jesus was anointed by the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove (Luke 3:21–22). When crowds gathered following miracles of healing, Jesus would retreat to a desolate place to pray (Luke 5:15). When the Pharisee attacked him for healing on the Sabbath, Jesus climbed a mountain and prayed all night—the following day, in what was among the most important decisions in his ministry, he chose the twelve apostles (Luke 6:12). Jesus, while praying alone among the disciples, posed the question: “who do the crowds say that I am?” (Luke 9:18) While praying with Peter, John, and James on a mountain top, Jesus was transfigured (Luke 9:28). Jesus was praying when the disciples asked him: “Lord, teach us to pray.” (Luke 11:1) On the night before his death, Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane (Luke 22:41).

Two things that Jesus’ prayers have in common in the Gospel of Luke are that he often prayed alone and he always prayed at critical points in his ministry. Significantly, God was visibly or audibly present in two of the seven incidences of Jesus’ prayers recorded in Luke. In the Book of Acts, Peter and Paul are likewise both shown practicing the habit of prayer and experiencing important visions during prayer [1]. From these few examples, we know that God answers prayer.

Jesus is not our only model for prayer. Our first model of prayer arises in the book of Genesis. God appears to the pagan king, Abimelech, in a dream where God instructs him to return Sarah to Abraham and to ask Abraham to pray for his healing. Abimelech obeys God’s instructions. Abraham then intercedes for Abimelech in prayer and God heals him (Gen 20:7-17). Clearly, God cares for pagans and asks us, like Abraham, to pray for them. And, this is the first prayer in scripture!

Prayer is important in the psalms. For example, Psalm 51 is a prayer of confession. King David begs God’s forgiveness following his adulterous affair with Bathsheba and the murder of her husband, Uriah the Hittite (2 Sam 11). Psalm 51 is important for Christians [2] because Jesus descends from King David (Matt 1:6–17).

The Apostle Paul also models prayer by admonishing us to: “pray without ceasing” (1 Thess 5:17). Unceasing prayer suggests that daily prayer is something of a misnomer. What we really mean by daily prayer is prayer in the morning, prayer during meals, and prayer before bed. Prayer while running, prayer while deliberating decisions, prayer while walking to work . . .

Prayer means opening ourselves to God. And, some-times, even words are spoken.

[1] For example, Acts 10:9 and Acts 9:11.

[2] Ps 51 is also important for Jews because it is an example of willful sin not covered by sacrifices under the Mosaic covenant. Both David’s adultery and his murder of Uriah were intentional. Under the law, only unintentional sin could be atoned with sacrifices.

 

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Por qué Dedicar Tiempo a Oración Habitual?

Albrecht Durer, 1508
Albrecht Durer, 1508

Toda la ciudad se había amontonado a la puerta. Y sanó a muchos que estaban enfermos de diversas enfermedades, y expulsó muchos demonios; y no dejaba hablar a los demonios . . . Levantándose muy de mañana, cuando todavía estaba oscuro, Jesús salió y fue a un lugar solitario, y allí oraba. (Mark 1:33-35 NBH)

Por Stephen W. Hiemstra

Jesús modelaba oración cotidiana.

El Evangelio de Lucas registra la mayor cantidad de casos en los que Jesús oró. La primera instancia de oración fue durante su bautismo cuando Jesús fue ungido por el Espíritu Santa en la forma de una paloma (Luke 3:21-22). Cuando multitudes se reunieron después de milagros de sanidad, Jesús se retiraba a una lugar desolada a orar (Luke 5:15). Cuando los fariseos lo atacaron para la curación en el Sábado, Jesús fui arriba una montana y oraba todo la noche. Después, en lo que fue una decisión entre las más importante en su ministerio, él escogió a los Doce Apóstoles (Luke 6:21). Mientras orando sólo entre los apóstoles,Jesús preguntó: “¿Quién dicen las multitudes que soy Yo?” (Luke 9:18 NBH) Mientras orando con Pedro, Juan, y Santiago por la cima de una montana, Jesús se transfiguró (Luke 9:28). Jesús fue orando cuando los discípulos le pidan: “Señor, enséña nos a orar” (Luke 11:1 NBH). Por la noche antes su muerto, Jesús oró en la Jardín de Getsemani (Luke 22:41).

Dos cosas que las oraciones de Jesús tienen en común en el Evangelio de Lucas son que él a menudo oraba a solas y siempre rezaba en las puntas críticas en su ministerio. Es significativo que Dios era visiblemente y de modo audible presente en dos de los siete incidencias de las oraciones de Jesús registradas en Lucas. En el Libro de Hechos, Pedro y Pablo practicar el hábito de la oración y experimentando visiones importante durante oración [1]. A partir de estos ejemplos, sabemos que Dios responde de oración.

Jesús no es nuestro único modelo para oración. Nuestro primero modelo por oración surge en el Libro de Génesis. Dios aparecía a un rey pagano, Abimelech, en un sueño donde Dios lo instruya a él para volver Sara a Abraham ya a Abraham para orar por su curación. Abimelech obedeció las instrucciones de Dios. Entonces Abraham intercede a Abimelech en oración y Dios lo se cura (Gen 20:7-17). Claro que Dios cuida por los paganos y nos pide, como Abraham,a orar a ellos. Y esta es la primera oración en la Escritura.

La oración es importante en los salmos. Por ejemplo, Salmo 51 es una oración de confesión. El Rey David pide Dios para perdón siguiendo su adultero con Betsabé y el muerte de su esposo, Urías el Hitita (2 Sam 11). Salmo 51 es importante por Cristianos [2] porque Jesús desciende del Rey David (Matt 1:6-17).

El Apóstol Pablo también de oración por nosotros amonestar a: “Oren sin cesar.” (1Thes 5:17 NBH) La oración cesando es un nombre inapropiado. Lo que realmente queremos decir por la oración habitual es oración por la mañana, oración durante cenas, y oración antes dormir. La oración mientras correr, oración mientras deliberando decisiones, oración mientras caminando a trabajar . . .

La oración significa abrirnos a Dios. Y, a veces, incluso palabras se hablan.

[1] Por ejemplo, Acts 10:9 y Acts 9:11.

[2] Ps 51 es también importante por los Judíos porque es un ejemplo de pecado intencional no cubierta por sacrificas bajo el pacto de Moisés. Tanto el adulterio de David y su muerte de Urías eran intencional. Bajo la ley, solamente pecados no intencional podrían ser expiado con sacrificios.

 

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Christmas as Sabbath Rest

Art by Stephen W. Hiemstra
Art by Stephen W. Hiemstra

“the Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath.” (Matt 12:8)

By Stephen W. Hiemstra

What is the first sin in the Bible?

The typical response is that the first sin occurred when Adam and Eve ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Gen 3:6). An alternative interpretation points out that although Adam and Eve were created in Genesis 1, when God rests on the first Sabbath in Genesis 2 they are not mentioned (Feinberg 1998, 16). The first sin in scripture is then argued to be a sin of omission (not doing good)—of Adam and Eve refusing to participate in Sabbath rest. It was as if God threw a party and they refused to come [1].

After that, the sin in Genesis escalated from disrespect into open rebellion. In Genesis 3, Adam and Eve commit their first sin of commission (doing evil). In Genesis 4, Cain kills Abel and Lamech takes revenge. In Genesis 5, Noah—the man who rested—is born [2]. In Genesis 6, God tells Noah to build an ark because he planned to send a flood in response to the depth of human corruption and sin. After the flood, only Noah and his family remained [3].

This interpretation is echoed in the New Testament where the kingdom of God compared to a wedding. Jesus tells an enigmatic parable of a king who held a wedding banquet for his son. When the banquet was ready, the king sent his servants to inform his guests. But, instead of responding to the reminder, many of the intended guests ignored the invitation while others committed acts of violence, even murder, against the king’s servants. The climax to this story comes in verse 7: “The king was angry, and he sent his troops and destroyed those murderers and burned their city.” (Matt 22:7)

If we treat Sabbath rest as a foretaste of the kingdom of God, this parable can be an allegory to the first sin, in which Adam and Eve refused God’s invitation to join him in the first Sabbath. The original sin, according to this interpretation, was the contemptuous rejection of God’s generous invitation on the seventh day. The fact that the parable of the wedding feast is a parable of judgment is an emphatic reminder that God really wants us to rest with Him.

Sabbath rest is important enough to God that is the fourth and the longest of the Ten Commandments given to Moses (Exod 20:8–11). Why was it important to the Jewish people? Free people rest; slaves work. The experience of slavery in Egypt and later in Babylon was a reminder that rest is a privilege not always enjoyed.

Are we a free people? Do we rest? Do we rest with God?

Jesus described himself as the Lord of the Sabbath, not to do away with it, but to refocus it on God’s desire for our lives. Sabbath rest is a gateway to the other spiritual disciplines because it makes the other disciplines easier to pursue. Rested people have the energy to care. Exhausted people struggle to care for God and for their neighbors.

Confusion about Sabbath arises, in part, because the Jewish Sabbath was the last day of the week, while Christians celebrated Sabbath on the first day of the week [4]. Pastors and others that must work Sundays often designate another day as their Sabbath and inform their family and friends. The point is to consecrate a day each week to honor and rest with God.

[1] One weakness with this interpretation is that Adam and Eve felt guilty over their nakedness, not other things such as empathy over the pain that they caused God (Gen 3:7).

[2]  In Hebrew, Noah means he rests (Feinberg 1998, 28). Also see: Kline (2006, 229).

[3] Kline (2006, 221–27) views story of Noah as a re-creation event. Noah’s ark serves as a prototype of the tabernacle, the temple, and, ultimately, heaven itself.

[4] Chang (2006, 81) writes: “Sunday is the first day of the week, but the early Christians also called it the eighth day. By call it the eighth day, the Christian understood the resurrection event as breaking through the earthly limitation of the weekly cycle.”

REFERENCES

Chan, Simon. 2006. Liturgical Theology: The Church as a Worshiping Community. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic.

Feinberg, Jeffrey Enoch. 1998. Walk Genesis: A Messianic Jewish Devotional Commentary. Clarksville, MD: Lederer Books.

Kline, Meredith G. 2006. Kingdom Prologue: Genesis Foundations for a Convenental Worldview. Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock Publishers.

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Do Not Covet (Tenth Commandment)

And you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife. And you shall not desire your neighbor’s house, his field, or his male servant, or his female servant, his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s. (Deut 5:21) [1]

By Stephen W. Hiemstra

How many marriages and families have been destroyed over the years by the love of money? Disagreements over money are often cited as a leading cause of divorce.

Covetness is a cross between greed and envy. Greed is an extreme desire to possess something, while envy is an extreme desire that someone else not possess that which we desire. In either case, our desires lead us to treat others badly.

Both greed and envy are among the seven deadly (mortal) sins popularized by Thomas Aquinas in the twelfth century. Aquinas listed these as pride (vainglory), envy, anger, sloth (spiritual apathy), greed, gluttony, and lust [2]. He described them as capital sins because they lead to other sins and are the opposite of particular virtues (Aquinas 2003, 317–20). Just as virtue is an ongoing good character trait, a vice is an ongoing bad character trait.

Jesus coined a new word for covetness (mammon) when he said: “Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” [3]

The King James Version (KJV) of the Bible transliterates the Greek word, mammon, which may also be translated as the god of money. The apostle Paul preferred to refer to covetness as the love of money. For example, Paul wrote:

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. (1 Tim 6:10 NIV)

While covetness is a vice that causes relational difficulties, mammon is also idolatry. Something becomes idolatrous—becomes a god—when we love it more than God. Jesus warns us:

No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. (Matt 6:24)

Here we enter the realm of obsession and addiction as slaves of sin (John 8:34). We can be addicted to almost anything. Gerald May (1988, 14) writes: “addiction is a state of compulsion, obsession, or preoccupation that enslaves a person’s will and desire.” Two tests can be applied to potentially addictive behavior. Does the behavior disrupt relationships with the people closest to you? Do you experience withdrawal symptoms when you give it up? In this context, do you think covetness can rise to the level of addiction?

Henry Cloud (2008, 154) has an interesting suggestion for dealing with pain: “Look at the misery and then make a personal rule that will keep it from happening.” In this case, God has seen the pain in our lives and has given us a rule: don’t covet.

More generally, the Ten Commandments do three things: they reduce our pain, they simplify our lives, and they help us to model ourselves after the One who we claim to follow.

[1] Also: Exod 20:17; Deut 7:25; Rom 7:7; Rom 13:9.

[2] The seven deadly sin are often described using their Latin names. Those are superbia (pride), invidia (envy), ira (anger), gula (gluttony), luxuria (lust), avarita (greed), and accidia (sloth) (Fairlie, 2006, iv).

[3] Luke 16:13 KJV; Matt 6:24 KJV.

REFERENCES

Aquinas, Thomas. 2003. On Evil (Orig Pub 1270). Translated by Richard Regan. Edited by Brian Davies. New York: Oxford University Press.

Cloud, Henry. 2008. The One-Life Solution: Reclaim Your Personal Life While Achieving Greater Personal Success. New York: Harper.

Fairlie, Henry. 2006. The Seven Deadly Sins Today (Orig Pub 1978). Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press.

May, Gerald G. 1988. Addiction and Grace: Love and Spirituality in the Healing of Addictions. New York: HarperOne.

 

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No Codiciarás (El Décimo Mandamiento)

No codiciarás la mujer de tu prójimo, y no desearás la casa de tu prójimo, ni su campo, ni su siervo, ni su sierva, ni su buey, ni su asno, ni nada que sea de tu prójimo.” (Deut 5:21 NBH) [1]

Por Stephen W. Hiemstra

¿Cuantos matrimonios y familias han sido destruido durante los años por ama de plata? Desacuerdos acerca de plata se citan frecuentemente como una causa principal de divorció.

La codicia es un cruce entre avaricia y envidia. Avaricia es un deseo extremo a poseer algo mientras envidia es un deseo extremo que alguien otra no poseer lo que deseamos. En cualquier caso, nuestros deseos nos llevan tratar mal a los demás.

Tanto avaricia y envidia son entre los siete pecados mortales popularizados por Tomás de Aquino en el siglo duodécimo. Aquino los enumeró como el orgullo (vanagloria), la envidia, la ira, la pereza (apatía espiritual), la avaricia, la gula y la lujuria [2]. Los describe como pecados capitales porque conducen a otros pecados y son lo contrario de virtudes particulares (Aquinas 2003, 317-20). Del mismo modo que virtud es un buen rasgo de carácter permanente, un vicio es un mal rasgo de carácter permanente.

Jesús acuñó un palabra nueva por la codicia (mamona) cuando dijo: “No pueden servir a Dios y a las riquezas (mamona).” [3]. En Ingles, el King James Versión (KJV) de la Biblia translitera el griego, mamona, que pueda también ser traducir como el dios de dinero. El Apóstol Pablo prefiere a referir a codicia como el amor de dinero. Por ejemplo, Pablo escribió:

Porque la raíz de todos los males es el amor al dinero, por el cual, codiciándolo algunos, se extraviaron de la fe y se torturaron con muchos dolores. (1Tim 6:10 NBH)

Mientras codicia es un vicio que causa dificultades relaciones, mamona es también idolatría. Algo se convierte idolatrías—convertir a un dios—cuando lo amamos más que Dios. Jesús nos advierto:

Nadie puede servir a dos señores; porque o aborrecerá a uno y amará al otro, o apreciará a uno y despreciará al otro. Ustedes no pueden servir a Dios y a las riquezas. (Matt 6:24 NBH)

Aquí entramos el terreno de obsesión y adicción como esclavos del pecado (John 8:34). Podemos ser adicto a casi cualquiera cosa. Gerald May (1988, 14) escribe: “adicción es un estado de compulsión, obsesión o preocupación que esclaviza la voluntad y deseo de una persona” [4]. Dos pruebas pueda ser aplicado a conducta potencialmente aditiva. ¿Interrumpe este comportamiento las relaciones con las persona más cercano de ti? ¿Es usted experimenta síntomas de abstinencia cuando usted lo da para arriba? En este contexto, piensas que la codicia pueda elevarse a la nivel de adicción?

Henry Cloud (2008, 154) tiene una sugerencia interesante para lidiar con el dolor: “Mirar al miseria y entonces hacer una regla personal que lo guardara de pasando.” [5] En este caso, Dios ha visto el dolor en nuestras vidas y nos ha dado una regla: no codician.

De manera más general, los Diez Mandamientos hacen tres cosas: reduce nuestro dolor, simplifica nuestras vidas, y ayudamos a nos modelar a nosotros mismos después de Aquel que reclamamos a seguir.

[1] También: Exod 20:17; Deut 7:25; Rom 7:7; Rom 13:9.

[2] Los siete pecados mortales son frecuentemente describe usando su nombres de Latín. Ellos son superbia (orgullo), invidia (envidia), ira, gula, luxuria (lujuria), avarita (avaricia), and accidia (pereza) (Fairlie, 2006, iv).

[3] Luke 16:13; Matt 6:24.

[4] “addiction is a state of compulsion, obsession, or preoccupation that enslaves a person’s will and desire.”

[5] “Look at the misery and then make a personal rule that will keep it from happening.”

REFERENCIAS

Aquinas, Thomas. 2003. On Evil (Orig Pub 1270). Translated by Richard Regan. Edited by Brian Davies. New York: Oxford University Press.

Cloud, Henry. 2008. The One-Life Solution: Reclaim Your Personal Life While Achieving Greater Personal Success. New York: Harper.

Fairlie, Henry. 2006. The Seven Deadly Sins Today (Orig Pub 1978). Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press.

May, Gerald G. 1988. Addiction and Grace: Love and Spirituality in the Healing of Addictions. New York: HarperOne.

 

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Navidad Como un Día de Reposo

Art by Stephen W. Hiemstra
Art by Stephen W. Hiemstra

“Porque el Hijo del Hombre es Señor del día de reposo.” (Matt 12:8 NBH)

Por Stephen W. Hiemstra

¿Cuál es el primer pecado en la Biblia?

La respuesta típica es que el primer pecado ocurrió cuando Adán y Eva comieron del árbol de la sabiduría de buen y malo. Una interpretación alternativa señala que a pesar de que aunque Adán y Eva fueron creado en Génesis 1, cuando Dios descansó por el primer sábado en Génesis 2 ellos no están mencionado (Feinberg 1998, 16). El primer pecado en escritura es entonces argumenta a ser un pecado de omisión (no hacer el bien). Se ocurrió cuando Adán y Eva negaron a participar en el día de repose. Fue como si Dios tuvo una fiesta y ellos negaron a venir [1].

Después todo eso, los pecados en Génesis se intensificó a partir de una falta de respeto hacia a rebele abierta. En Génesis 3, Adán y Eva cometen su primer pecado de comisión (hacer malo). En Génesis 4, Caín mata Abel y Lamec se venga. En Génesis 5, Noé—el hombre que descansó—nació [2]. En Génesis 6, Dios dice a Noé para construir un arco porque él planeaba enviar un inundación en respuesta a la profundidad de corrupción humana y el pecado. Después la inundación , solo Noé y su familia permaneció [3].

Esta interpretación se refleja en el Testamento Nuevo donde el reino de Dios se comparó a una boda. Jesús dice una parábola enigmática de un rey quien tiene una banquete de boda por su hijo. Cuando el banquete estuvo listo, el rey envió sus siervos a informar sus huéspedes. Pero, en lugar de responder al recordatorio, muchas de los huéspedes entendido ignoraba la invitación mientras otras cometieron hechos de violencia, aun matar, contra los siervos del rey. El punto culminante de esta historia viene en el versículo 7: “Entonces el rey se enfureció, y enviando sus ejércitos, destruyó a aquellos asesinos e incendió su ciudad.” (Matt 22:7 NBH)

Si tratamos el día de reposo como un anticipo del reino de Dios, esta parábola puede ser un alegoría a la primero pecado, en el que Adán y Eva rechazaron la invitación de Dios a unirse en el primero Sábado. El pecado original, de acuerdo con esta interpretación, fue el rechazo despectivo de la invitación generoso de Dios en el séptimo día. El observación de la parábola del banquete de bodas es una parábola de juicio es un recordatorio enfático que Dios Realmente nos quiere que Descansar Con Él.

Descanso del sábado es importante a Dios suficiente que él es el cuarto y el más largo de los Diez Mandamientos dados a Moises (Exod 20:8-11). ¿Por qué se era importante al pueblo Judío? Personas libre descansar; esclavos obrar. La experiencia de esclavitud en Egipto y mas tarde en Babilonia era una recordatorio que el resto es un privilegio que no siempre disfrutó.

¿Somos un pueblo libre? ¿Nos descansamos? ¿Descansamos con Dios?

Jesús se describió a si mismo como el Señor del Sábado, no acabar con el, sino para reorientar en deseo de Dios para nuestras vidas. El Día de Reposo es una puerta de entrada a las disciplinas espirituales ya que la otras disciplinas mas fácil a seguir. La gente descansado tiene la energía a cuido. La gente cansada luchan a amar Dios o sus prójimos.

La confusión acerca del día de reposo surge, en parte, debido a que el sábado Judío era por la ultima día de la semana, mientras los Cristianos celebraron sábado por la primera día de la semana. Los pastores y otras que debieran trabajar por los domingos frecuentemente designarán un día otro como su sábado y avisar su familia y amigos. La punta es a consagrar un día cada semana para honrar y descansar con Dios.

[1] Una debilidad con esta interpretación es que Adán y Eva sintieron culpable por su desnudez, pero no sintieron la empatía por el dolor que ellos causaron a Dios (Gen 3:7).

[2] En Hebreo, Noé significa el descanso (Feinberg 1998, 28). También ver: Kline (2006, 229).

[3] Kline (2006, 221-227) vistas la historia de Noé como un re-creación evento. El arco de Noé siervo como un prototipo del tabernáculo, el templo, y última instancia, el mismo cielo.

[4] Change (2006, 81) escribe: “El domingo es el primer día de la semana, pero los Cristianos de la iglesia primitiva también lo llamaron el día octavo. Por llamar lo el día octavo, los Cristiano entendieron la resurrección evento como rompiendo a través de la limitación del mundo de la ciclo semanal.” [“Sunday is the first day of the week, but the early Christians also called it the eighth day. By call it the eighth day, the Christian understood the resurrection event as breaking through the earthly limitation of the weekly cycle.”]

REFERENCIAS

Chan, Simon. 2006. Liturgical Theology: The Church as a Worshiping Community. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic.

Feinberg, Jeffrey Enoch. 1998. Walk Genesis: A Messianic Jewish Devotional Commentary. Clarksville, MD: Lederer Books.

Kline, Meredith G. 2006. Kingdom Prologue: Genesis Foundations for a Convenental Worldview. Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock Publishers.

 

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