A little boy’s mother baked a batch of cookies and placed them in a cookie jar, instructing her son not to touch them until after dinner. Soon she heard the lid of the jar move, and she called out, “Son, what are you doing?” A meek voice called back, “My hand is in the cookie jar resisting temptation.” It’s funny to think of a person trying to resist temptation with their “hand in the cookie jar.” This is as much a challenge in our culture today, as it was for the Ephesians.
Imagine this scene. Joseph leading a donkey-drawn carriage towards Bethlehem. Inside that carriage sits his pregnant wife, Mary. She was found to be pregnant before they had consummated their marriage! This would be the scandal of the town. Imagine the gossip and stares. Surely she was a promiscuous woman. And both of them are guilty of premarital sex!
Q: Did Judah marry Tamar? In the Genesis 38 text it says Judah it says Judah did not sleep with Tamar again after she became pregnant? —Victoria
A: Genesis 38:1-30 tells us that Judah fathered Perez and Zerah, the twin sons of Tamar. Genesis 46:12 listed them as his sons together with Er and Onan. In the genealogy of Jesus, Matthew 1:3 says…
In a Downton Abbey episode, beloved housemaid Anna Bates is brutally raped. It was heart-wrenching to watch her try to keep it a secret. The head housekeeper, Mrs. Hughes, found Anna shortly after the assault—bruised, crying, and hiding in a corner. Despite the strong urgings of Mrs. Hughes, Anna told her to tell no one, not even her husband. She was not only afraid he would kill her assailant, but she also felt “dirty” and believed the attack was somehow her fault.
This is the last snack I’m going to eat today, you tell yourself. Then 5 minutes later you’re looking for another one! Michael Moss, in his book Salt Sugar Fat, reveals how food companies study ways to “help” people crave junk food. Some of the food industry’s biggest names hire “crave consultants” to determine people’s “bliss points”—the conditions when food companies can optimize consumers’ cravings. One popular company spends $30 million a year to determine the bliss points of consumers.
I was 7 years old when I was first exposed to pornography. Some kids had found it, and I naively agreed when they offered to show it to me. In today’s digital world, the stakes are much higher. More than a frozen picture in time, the power of video erodes what little innocence remains in our world.
My friend noticed that his maple tree was shedding leaves prematurely. The tree doctor told him his tree was suffering from a girdling root. It had taken 30 years, but the offending root had encircled the tree and was now slowly choking it. If my friend didn’t dig down and hack the root off, the tree would die.
Adultery is defined as “voluntary sexual intercourse between a married person and a person who is not their spouse” (Oxford English Dictionary). So the seventh commandment applies only to those who commit the act, right?
After recent trips to two different amusement parks, I realized that our broken sense of sexuality is most visible in public places, not our bedrooms. People are in love with their own nakedness. I live in a region known for its hot summers, but what people choose to wear is more about the dictates of cultural norms than keeping cool.
I recently heard a speaker who had engaged in an immoral lifestyle in his younger years, but later received Jesus as his Savior. He now oversees a thriving ministry. In his talk, he described “three Cs” that should comprise intimate relationships.
Nearly half of the children born in my country are born to unwed mothers. One million more are aborted each year. Teenagers can purchase over-the-counter “morning after” pills. Our Supreme Court has ruled that men may marry men and women may marry women, and anyone who says otherwise is injuring them. Few people think they should wait for marriage to have sex, and many who do marry still end up divorcing their spouse.
A Christian dentist in the US had an attractive assistant. Fearing that he might be tempted to have an affair with her, he fired her. Later, the Supreme Court ruled 7-0 that he had the legal right to fire the pretty female hygienist to protect his marriage. All of us sympathize with the young woman’s plight. Public opinion for what the dentist had done, however, was divided. Many criticized him for selfishly and unfairly punishing the nurse because of his own sexual lust. Others commended him for honestly recognizing his own weakness and taking decisive action to prevent sinning against God.
I recently officiated the marriage of a young couple. After the ceremony, the bridal party headed out for some photos prior to the reception. My wife and I were invited to the bride’s home for some sweet fellowship and treats on the family’s backyard patio. Suddenly, the mother of the bride emerged from the house with tears in her eyes. She held up her daughter’s purity ring and with a choked up voice and tender smile, uttered, “She left this on the kitchen counter.” The decision of the young woman to wear a purity ring had been an outward sign that she had vowed to remain sexually pure until marriage. Now, the ring was no longer needed.
Q: If a man and wife divorce and decide to live together after the divorce, is that still sinful? —Jeannette
A: The question of whether it is sinful in some abstract way for a man and woman to live together outside the bounds of marriage isn’t the main issue.
Marriage is a public covenant that binds a man and woman together…
A man knocked on my office door and asked me if I would officiate his marriage. I asked him to sit down so we could chat about his plans, timing, and spiritual life. “Oh, I’m not sure you understand,” he said, “I’d like you to marry me today, like in the next hour.” The story is complicated, but his fiancée was from a country in Asia and was living in the US with a short-term visa. For numerous reasons he wanted to marry right away, but he didn’t want a civil authority to perform the ceremony. He wanted a church and a pastor.