Nazirite Vow

My reading today was from Numbers 6 and the Nazirite vow (vv 1-21). When I think of the Nazirite vow, I think of Samson (Judges 13) and John the Baptist (Luke 1:15-17) who were Nazirites for life (Samuel was also under the vow in 1 Samuel 1). I also think of Paul being temporarily under the Nazirite vow in Acts (vv 18:18; 21:17-26). I have heard people try to connect Nazirite with Nazarene and in the Hebrew it is very clear that Nazirite is not at all affiliated with the Nazarenes or the place of Nazareth.

“And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, When either a man or a woman makes a special vow, the vow of a Nazirite, to separate himself to the LORD…” (Num 6:1-2). “The term Nazirite describes the person who has marked out a specific period for personal separation or consecration, a special time for unusual devotion to God. This text speaks of a restricted period of time for the Nazirite vow, though some persons took the vow for a lifetime” (R. Allen, Numbers REBC, 2012, p. 138).

I have read Numbers 6 NUMEROUS times and NEVER noticed that women were included in making this extraordinary vow to the Lord. “Though issues related to women are often subsumed under the heading of man (=humankind), the context explicitly emphasizes the potential of women entering into this consecration service to Yahweh. Women could not serve as priests in the Israelite cultus, but this manner of service was open to them and could fulfill their desire for holiness and special service to the Lord” (R.D. Cole, Numbers NAC, 2000, p. 121).

What were those under the Nazirite vow separating themselves from? “(1) absolute abstinence from all produce of the vine, (2) total forswearing of trimming of (and likely all caring for) the hair, and (3) utter separation from contamination by any contact with a dead body. Thus three areas of life were regulated for the Nazirite during the period of his vow: diet (ordinary pleasure), appearance (ordinary care), and associations (ordinary obligation). Every Israelite was under regulations in these general areas, but for the Nazirite each of these regulations was heightened” (Allen, pp. 138-139).

Numbers 30:1-16 does give fathers of young women and husbands permission to cancel/oppose a woman’s vow to the Lord. I am fascinated by the Bible resources that I have that do NOT mention that women are included in the Nazirite vow in Numbers 6; to not mention this is dishonest to the text.

This also has me wondering what would it look like for Israelite women to make a Nazirite vow?! Premenstral young women or postmenopausal women would be free to make this vow unless their fathers or husbands opposed it. Women of menstruating age would have to be VERY sensitive to the timing of this vow so as to not conflict with purity rituals, cleanness laws etc.

I need to do more research on this because, I am really curious to learn how often pregnant Israelite women would have made/put themselves under a Nazirite vow to the Lord?! Pregnant women would have months to devote themselves to the Lord without having to deal with their monthly period. Manoah’s wife (Samson’s mom) was put under the Nazirite vow by the angel of the Lord in which she was to be careful to not drink strong drink, to not eat anything unclean and to not eat anything that comes from the vine (see Judges 13:4, 7, 14).

I am so glad the Lord brought this to my attention today! I have often wondered about the vows Jewish women would have made in the Ancient Near East (ANE). While I am glad that women were able to partake in the Nazarite vow, I am SO glad and thankful that women TODAY have even more access to the Triune God by grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone.

Lord God, thank You that the path to salvation is made clear in Your Word. Thank You Lord that what You began in the Old Testament (Covenant) is now completed in the New! Lord God, thank You and praise You for women! Thank You for the unique giftings and experiences that You have given women to glorify You and serve Your people, leading the lost to Christ. Lord God, thank You and praise You there will be NO sex and gender disputes in Heaven! Lord God, thank You for ALL the godly men in the world who are doing their best to live for You in this darkening world. Lord God, help Your men to lead well. Lord God, may Your people, males and females help each other to make You known in this lost and dying world. Thank You Lord for this reader! Thank You for their grace and patience with me as I share what You have put on my heart. Lord, lead this reader today. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

Fluffy snow and sunset 2/13/2022

Photo taken by Mandy Sweigart-Quinn
Photo taken by Mandy Sweigart-Quinn
Photo taken by Mandy Sweigart-Quinn
Photo taken by Mandy Sweigart-Quinn
Photo taken by Mandy Sweigart-Quinn

Lord God, thank You for today. Thank You Holy Trinity that You are intimately involved with Your Creation! Thank You Lord that for those of us who are in Christ we are no longer covered in sin and hell bound, but are a people alive with hope and purpose. Lord God, help us this week to live more for You. Help us to be more like Jesus. Lord God, stir our hearts to share Jesus while there is still time.

Lord God, thank You for this reader. May this reader take comfort and courage in You. May this reader be refreshed by Your Word and renewed knowing there is nowhere they can go that is out of Your grasp. Thank You and praise You Lord for this reader. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

Anxious and Excited

So, I graduated from LBC/Capital Seminary and Graduate School summa cum laude (4.0 GPA) with a Masters degree in Biblical Studies (MABS). I do NOT share this to brag or puff up myself! I share this because the reality of returning to Seminary is getting ever closer, and is causing me to be anxious and excited!

While I want to work very hard at Westminster, I do NOT want this program to consume my life in the same way that my MABS program did. When I first started thinking about Seminary Nathan’s only concern was would I go into crazy mode like last time?! In fairness, I met Nathan halfway through the program. By the time I met Nathan I had a routine; and well, I do not deal well with routine changes. I am praying I will be better and do better with changes this time around!

Last night, new students in the MAR and MDiv programs had a meet and greet zoom conference. I was really encouraged to hear one of the current student’s say that he allots a certain amount of time per assignment and that he aims for good grades but not excellent grades. He accepts he has done the best he can with the amount of time that he has. Don’t get me wrong, he would like excellent grades, but he doesn’t want to sacrifice time with his family and ministry to achieve said goal.

I pray to be like this! I hope you will all hold me accountable. I hope that if I go for a prolonged period of time without posting that y’all will email me or leave a comment reminding me that it is more important that I worship God through my studies and other activities that God has for me more than only worshiping God through school and what grade I get. I do not want school nor grades to become a stumbling block/idol.

I have perfectionistic tendencies and so I can get very frustrated very quickly. And when that happens, I usually take my frustrations out on Nathan, my mom, my dad and yes, even PQ. I do not like this about myself. It is ugly and it is nasty. Praise God there will be a day when believers in Christ no longer have to contend with their sin nature!

So, why am I returning to Seminary?! Because I miss, need and love the challenge! I am attending Seminary to learn more about Jesus so that I can love Him more. I want to work hard for God, for those who believe in me and for myself.

I am thankful for this new experience. I pray to not compare it to my last experience. I pray that I will NEVER allow my studies to replace or become my quiet time. I praise God for the opportunity to learn online with other likeminded men and women. I praise God for how He will use me and I am genuinely confident that He will.

Thank you reader for all the support you have shown me! I pray that my Seminary experience will help me to be a better writer and communicator with y’all. I am humbled and grateful for every comment that y’all take the time to write me. It is a joy and an honor to pray for you through this outlet. Thank you all for praying for me too! Lots of love, hugs and blessings!

Lord God, thank You for this new journey, this new beginning! Lord God, prepare me for my classes now so that I won’t panic later! Lord God, help Your people to be content. Help us to not be frustrated and angry. Lord God, for the reader that does not know Christ may today be day their day of salvation. Lord God, may our work, regardless of the kind and type be done in a manner that honors, pleases and glorifies You! Thank You Father for this reader! Lead and guide this reader today. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

February 2022 Prayer

Photo by Tara Winstead on Pexels.com

Lord God, thank You for this new month. Lord God, remind us that no matter how out of control life seems, You are still in control! Lord God, thank You for the way that You intervene in our average, everyday lives! Lord God, help us to trust You. Thank You for the small miracles that occur each day: a man marrying a woman, a baby being born and an unsaved person coming to Christ.

Lord God, help us to look at what is in front of us. Help us to not turn to the right nor left but to again stay focused on You. Lord God, thank You for this reader! Lord God, may this reader love You more this month. Lord God, may this reader put You first this month. Lord God, thank You for the opportunity to live at this time in history. Lord God, may we cling to You more than the world in this new month. Help us and grow us in loving You and loving others this month. Thank You again Lord for this reader. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

LA Reflections

Camellia. Photo taken by Mandy Sweigart-Quinn

In less than 2.5 hours I will be heading to airport to begin my journey home (this time I will fly from LAX to Charlotte and from there fly to Harrisburg). This has been an incredible five days. I have experienced more love, hospitality and joy than I ever imagined! I came to love and serve and instead I was loved and served.

I am so thankful for the youth that I was able to meet on Sunday at church! That was an emotional moment! For the past year I have prayed for these young people and participated in online study with them and now I was able to give them a hug in the flesh! Thank you Jesus! This whole experience reminds me the church is so much more than we realize. There is our local church and then there is the worldwide church. Praise God there will be a day where believers are united in Heaven!

It was really fantastic to meet some of the guys who are in the Tuesday night Bible study. What a joy when God’s people are able to rejoice and worship together in person! I never want it to be far from my mind that this life is not about me, my wants and my desires, it is about Christ and loving others well.

What I have learned the most is how amazing Nancy is. I knew she had a heart of gold and served her family well, but wow, I want to be more like Nancy because Nancy exudes Christ and grace.

It was beautiful for me to see how much this family loves each other. And it wasn’t fake because there was a guest, it is a lifestyle for them. I know that God will help me reflect more on my time here throughout this week.

I am ready to see Nathan and PQ. God in His Sovereignty allowed me to have this experience as well as allowing me to have this week off before starting classes online at Westminster next Monday February 7, 2022.

It is my heartfelt prayer that we will all meditate this week on the fact that “faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love” (1 Cor 13:13 ESV).

Lord God, thank You and praise You for this time. Thank You for the opportunity to love and be loved. Lord God, may Your people love You and others well this week. Lord God, help us to grow in extending forgiveness, grace, mercy and love. Help us to be a genuine light in this dark world. Help us to put You and others first. Lord God, prepare us to live for You even though it may be costly. Thank You Lord for this reader. Thank You Lord for Jimmy and his family! Bless Jimmy, Nancy and kiddos for the love and kindness they have shown me. In Jesus’s Name I pray.

LA, here I come!

After a beautiful few days with my mom, I am now sitting at the Tampa airport waiting to board my flight for LA. Many of you who read this blog also read SlimJim at The Domain for Truth (I highly recommend his blog if you don’t already read it!).

Jimmy and I started reading each other’s blogs in the summer of 2019. After communicating with Jimmy through the blogging world, when churches were shut down due to Covid (Nathan and I were not part of a local body at that time), we asked Jimmy if we could join their online church service. From there I learned about the Tuesday night Bible study and I started attending that. (Praise God I was able to meet a BEAUTIFUL young woman through that Study who spent the 4th of July 2021 with Nathan and I!!!)

From there I heard the adults of the church were sharing their testimonies with the youth and I volunteered to share mine if the church was interested. That was a great moment for me because I have been able to share with the youth since that time. I am so blown away by the youths’ ability to show up on Saturday morning for Study!

The agony and the ecstasy of life is a tension that we continually experience. While I am still sad about my mom, I am absolutely thrilled for the opportunity to visit Jimmy and his family in person. Tears of sorrow will God willing soon be turned to tears of joy. Nathan has to work or otherwise him and I would have come out to visit together.

I can honestly say that I care very deeply for each reader of this blog. I do my very best to write like I talk so that when we meet (whether in this life or in Heaven) you will know it’s me!

Getting to know many of you outside of WordPress has been such an amazing joy and honor! I NEVER in my life imagined the people the Lord would allow me to meet through this platform.

While Covid has changed and disrupted all of our lives, it is not lost on me that blessings have occurred and friendships have formed through it.

Lord God, thank You for this blogging family. Lord God, thank You for all those whom You have allowed meet through WordPress. Thank You God for those who have wanted to communicate further outside of WordPress as well. Thank You God for the ministry of my fellow bloggers. I pray Lord that we will point others to Christ in a manner that glorifies You, encourages the Body and leads the lost to You!!!! Thank You and praise You Lord for Jimmy and his family. Thank You Lord for friendships that have formed through adversity. Thank You Lord for the gift of today. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

Bedtime Tears

Humble selfie by Mandy Sweigart-Quinn

Tears flow as I think about my mom taking me to the airport early tomorrow morning. I will miss my mom so much! I have so many memories coming to my mind like when I was little my mom read and quoted repeatedly the book Love You Forever by Robert Munsch. The line that keeps replaying over and over in my mind is:

I’ll love you forever,
I’ll like you for always,
As long as I’m living
my Mommy you’ll be.

As a kid, I hated that book! I thought it was the dumbest, worst book ever! Over time I have come to love and appreciate that book. I praise God for the love that my mom has for me. I praise God for the opportunity to love my mom and to be her daughter. (No worries, I can get really annoyed and irritated with my mom!) If I was ever forced to cry on demand, all I have to do is visualize the look on my mom’s face when I say something that verbally hurts her and that brings instant tears to my eyes.

I know that my mom hurts too because of our distance and that grieves my heart. I know that God loves my mom and that she has amazing friends. I pray that my mommy knows that no matter where I am, no matter what I am doing that I will love her, I am here for her and “as long as I’m living my mommy [she’ll] be.”

Since the beginning of 2020, there has been so much death, loss and grief all over the world. It is with a humble and sincere heart that I encourage you to tell and show your loved ones that they matter. Even if it is uncomfortable for you to show love and vulnerability to others, I implore you in Jesus’s Name to share yourself with them. We are NOT guaranteed tomorrow. I do not ever want anyone that I know to wonder if I loved them. I get this wrong a lot! I am thankful that God has mercy on me a sinner. I am thankful that even as I sit here typing and crying, I have peace. I have peace knowing that Jesus loves me as well as my family and friends. I am humbled and thankful that I am able by the Spirit’s power to love Jesus and my family and friends.

Lord God, confession is good for the soul! Lord God, thank You and praise You for this time with my mom! Lord God, thank You for the godly women that You place in Your peoples lives. Lord God, prepare my mom and I to say, “see you soon!” and prepare me for my next adventure in and with You. Lord God, thank You for this reader. Prepare this reader for their next adventure in and with You as well! Thank You Lord for Your encouragement and love toward me and allowing me to share my heart. Lord God, help Your people to live open, authentic lives in this dying and decaying world. Lord, encourage this reader to share with their loved ones how much they love them while there is still time. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

On my way!

Sunrise, 24 January 2022. Photo taken by Mandy Sweigart-Quinn.

For the first time in I don’t know how long, there was NO airport security line! While it is 47f in St Pete, FL as I type this, that sounds a whole lot better than the 25F in Lancaster, PA!

God willing, I will be with my mom today until early Thursday morning and then I will fly from Tampa to LA to visit with friends until next Monday. I am SO excited and appreciative to God for this opportunity! I am thankful that my dad and another friend will hangout with PQ while Nathan is at work! I am thankful for Nathan for supporting me in visiting my mom and our friends in SOCAL (Lord, please let it be warm there!!!).

Thank you dear reader for adventuring with me. We were never meant to travel on this Jesus road alone. I have never in my life thought I would make such great connections with folks through this blog. Please know that I love you and that it’s a joy and an honor to pray for you.

Lord God, thank You for this opportunity! Lord God, thank You for this reader! Lord God, take this reader on an adventure in Your Word. Lord God, may this reader read Acts and all the journeys that Paul went on. Or may they read Exodus and journey with Israel through the Red Sea or journey in Numbers through the wilderness. Lord God, may we all adventure through the Psalms feeling the grief, joy and hope of the psalmists. Lord, praise You that in Revelation You bless Your people who read it. May we live in confidence knowing that the road for those who are in Christ is leading us to victory regardless of what happens in this life.

Thank You and praise You Lord for this reader. May they be encouraged by who You are and how You work. May this reader embrace their journey with You knowing that without You life makes NO sense. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

21 January 2022 Sunset

Photo taken by Mandy Sweigart-Quinn

Father God, thank You for Your extraordinary color at the close of a very cold day! Lord God, thank You that the sun always comes out to set. Lord God, thank You that each sunrise and sunset are glimpses of Your Majesty, Might and Glory! Lord, I am humbled and awed by how involved You are with Your Creation. No wonder David said, “When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him,
and the son of man that you care for him?” (Ps 8:3-4 ESV).

Lord God, help Your young people to stay pure this weekend. Lord God, fill our youth with the peace of Your presence this weekend. Lord God, there is so much garbage in the world enticing Your young people to sin. Lord for those who are more mature in the faith, may they not forget what it was like to be young. Lord God, may those of us who are older in years not look down on the younger with contempt but rather with a heart to serve, mentor and guide.

Lord God, thank You for this reader. Lord, whether this reader is younger or older, new believer or seasoned saint, may they marvel at being a new creation in Christ. Lord God, for the reader who does not know You, may they seek Jesus while there is still time. Thank You and praise You Lord for who You are and how You work. Amen.

Photo taken by Mandy Sweigart-Quinn
Photo taken by Mandy Sweigart-Quinn

Sunset 15 January 2022

Photo taken by Mandy Sweigart-Quinn

Lord God, thank You for Your faithfulness. Lord God, whatever troubles this reader today, I ask Lord that You fill them with peace. Lord, for the reader who is ill, I ask that You will heal them as You see fit. Lord God, for the reader who is rejoicing, may their praise be acceptable to You.

Thank You Lord for each day You give us to live for You. Thank You that in our sleeplessness we can cry out to You in prayer. Lord God, as no two sunsets are the same, thank You and praise You that You have created each person unique.

Lord God, for the reader who is far from You, draw this reader to Yourself by grace through faith in Christ while there is still time. Thank You Lord for this reader. Thank You for our identity and position in Christ. Bless this reader and encourage them, as You have blessed and encouraged me. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

Photo taken by Mandy Sweigart-Quinn
Photo taken by Mandy Sweigart-Quinn