Faith is truly one of the most complex attributes of spirituality. It is a word bandied about easily and casually by the unbelieving world as readily as it is used in the believing world.
It has almost become a cliche in our time to declare that, "the institution of marriage is under attack." It is a cliche because it is true. An all out ware is on the destroy marriage as Christians understand it.
It is unfortunate, in one sense, that the Lord's parable of the talents is about money and the return gained from its use. This has led to the false idea that God cares about the world of finance. The misappropriation of the truth of this parable has contributed to many foolish prosperity doctrines that are an embarrassment to the church. Because of the deeper meaning in the parable, however, the first century unit of money-weight Jesus spoke of actually became our English word for "talent," which certainly brings us much closer to Jesus' intent.
Though we have taken the two letters to the Thessalonians as our starting point for the next series of commands, Paul does not directly address home and family issues to a great extent in those letters. Most of his family-specific commands come later, notably in Ephesians and Colossians as well as, interestingly, in the letters to the two single men, Timothy and Titus.
New Testament scholar William Barclay says plainly about Mark 9:48-50, "These three verses are amongst the most difficult in the New Testament to interpret."
At first I wrote Bring children to me in order to more directly represent Jesus' words. Then I realized that Jesus was addressing a larger principle: The childlikeness required to receive the principles of God's kingdom. There are several huge implications involved.
In now climaxing this series of "Turn from sin" commands, we recognize that it would have been equally appropriate to have begun with the conscience as with the admonition to repent.
We continually find that the familiarity of certain of Jesus' words often obscures their astonishing meaning. Here, for example, many images of what it means to take upon oneself the Lord's "yoke" spring to mind, along with his oft-quoted words of comfort, You shall find rest for your souls.
We are familiar with the saying, "Confession is good for the soul." There is little doubt that confession is cleansing. Yet why does confession make us feel better?
Self-defense is one of the most automatic of human responses. When challenged, threatened, contradicted, or accused, we blurt out a defense before the voice of criticism has even died away. Often we do not wait so long as that to defend ourselves, but interrupt to counter the word against us before it is even finished.