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Sunday, September 21, 2014

Eternity is drawing nigh

In less than a year we have lost around 20 elderly friends; some of them we were very close to (the closest of all being a year ago today). Now just last evening a man that was dear to several of us passed into eternity. His was a long, sad struggle. Was he ready?

Being close to and around all of these people that are sick and dying, most quite old but some not so much, helps keep eternity in view. As each one passes I cannot help but ask myself, "Am I ready?" Are you ready?

What are we doing with our time? Are we spending our days in ways that are pleasing to the Lord? Or do we keep back part or all of our day to do what pleases us? Do we strive to walk in all of the light we have? Or do we push the limits and compromise 'here and there'?

We will give an account and God wants all of us, not just the parts we are willing to give up. This is very, very serious. Our life is but a vapour that appears for a short time and then vanishes away. Eternity is forever.


Priscilla / Prisca

What does the bible have to say about her that leads women to believe they can go against the clear command that women are to be silent and are not to teach or to usurp authority over the man?

Acts 18:2 she was the wife of Aquila
Acts 18:18 she sailed with her husband and Paul into Syria
Acts 18:26 Aquila and Priscilla helped Apollos learn the way of God more perfectly
Romans 16:3 Paul calls Aquila and Priscilla his helpers in Christ
1 Cor 16:19 they (husband and wife) send greetings to the Corinthian church at the end of Paul's letter to the Corinthians. Paul also says the "church that is in their house" sends greetings too.
2 Timothy 4:19 Paul sends Prisca and Aquila greetings, as well as the household of Onesiphorus.

She is mentioned 6 times in the New Testament, each time with her husband. Somehow from this women glean that they may teach and preach to others because "Priscilla did." "She helped build the church!" "She taught the church that was in her house!"

Just because she is mentioned in the bible when the church was being formed does not mean she was the one doing all the 'moving and shaking'. It is more likely, and more biblical, that she was simply helping her husband - just as God created her to do. To say that she was the one making things happen is to totally go outside of what is stated in the scriptures. Nowhere in the passages that speak of Priscilla and her husband does it say that she had the dominant role, and if she did she would have been totally out of order. It is clear that they were a godly couple because Paul loved them very much and God used them in a great way. Paul, who was as righteous as he knew how to be, thought very highly of them. I do not think I am out of line when I say that if she were not in her proper place Paul would not have thought so much of them and neither would have God.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Modesty is more than your wardrobe ...

... it's a whole way of living.

Some of us were talking about this this morning. A brother advised: consider your attitude just like you would your clothing. Being shamefaced and chaste is a part of the whole picture of modesty and lacking these things would be just like wearing skimpy clothing with a nice head covering - it just does not work.

I was never taught reserve, never saw it in action, or even knew it existed until not too long ago ... but this is how the Lord desires us to be. This is how I want to be and what I am striving for because meek and quiet women are of great value to him!


For those who struggle with this as well, here is a suggestion: before dealing with a man, simply pray for wisdom and guidance from the Lord. He will give it to you. No, we do not need to be afraid to talk to men, but we must guard our tongues and our actions for our sake and theirs. We must always strive to do what pleases the Lord and fight hard against what is not pleasing.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Being a Witness

A while ago I transcribed a message that David preached and was really blessed by it. In the message he speaks about the catch term "a personal relationship with Jesus" (which is the title too). What do people mean when they say this? Well, I wont get in to that because their ideas certainly do NOT bless me and have only served as confusion when I was an atheist.

Christ has called us to be his witness here on earth, just as the Father sent him to be a witness on this earth. And what does that mean? David shared several passages of Christ's relationship with God and used that as an example of how our relationship should be with Christ.

I'll put a quote here from the message:

"Jesus said in Matthew, “You are the light of the world. You are the salt of the earth. You are my witnesses.” Well what is a witness? We think we are a witness because we can spout off the right doctrines. We can say the right things. But a witness – Jesus bore witness of the light. Jesus was God manifested in the flesh. He came and dwelt on this earth, at one with God. He was God with us: Emmanuel (Emmanuel means God with us). He was at one with God, doing the will of God, living the will of God and set right in the middle of a bunch of people who weren't living the will of God or doing the will of God, who wanted nothing to do with God. That is what a witness is. That is you BEING God's witness. You BEING that light in this world. You BEING that salt of the earth. That is what a witness is. You BEING a Christian, not just being able to explain it, not just being able to talk about it, not preaching loud, but LIVING that way. BEING the salt of the earth."

And this is to happen ALL THE TIME, not just once in a while. Our whole lives are to be lived this way: salt and light in this dark world. We must always keep in mind the example of Christ, because there are plenty who think they are being an example of Christ yet if you but only take a few minutes to see how Christ lived and see what he taught while here you would quickly see that most who profess to be Christians are not actually Christians at all. He certainly was not afraid to stand for the truth, even knowing it would cost him his life. And that's exactly what he is telling us to do while here.

Continuing on in the message David said:

"John 12:42 Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: 43 For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.

They would rather walk with the world and have the praise of the world than to be set apart and be the light of God.

44 Jesus cried and said, He that believeth on me, believeth not on me, but on him that sent me.

Do you see the union, the relationship that Christ had with God? It wasn't a 'touchy-feeling' thing. It wasn't an emotional experience. The relationship Christ had with God was because he was at one with God and he was representing God in this world. That's what the relationship was all about."

Are WE representing Christ on this earth? Or are we like those who love the praise of men more than the praise of God? 

I believe loving the praise of men can happen in such subtle ways. One way that seems innocent enough is by participating in their celebrations and festivities. Be it an xmas event, easter, or even something that is not a holiday. For instance, each month a few of us go preaching at the Joplin Art Walk. Each time we go we usually see some 'plain people' there [a.k.a. certain brands of Mennonites and/or Amish]. No, they are not preaching or even handing out tracts ... they are walking hand-in-hand with the world, right there among the live heavy-metal bands, belly dancers, fire jugglers, skate boarders, hip-hop dancers, and so on.

Public entertainments, holidays, amusements, etc. - participating in these things is having fellowship with the world.

Are we so afraid to tell the truth and offend someone that we end up joining with them and become their friends? Many say "Oh, but I AM Jesus' friend and he is my friend!" but what does Christ say? "You are my friends if you do whatever I command you." There is a major CONDITION there --> that tiny little word "if". Jesus was not afraid to speak the truth. Yes, he got killed for it, but he was not ashamed of his Father. He loved the praise of his Father much more than the praise of men.

Can we say the same? I ask again, are WE representing Christ in this world? In all that we do? Or is there some little bits of compromise 'here and there'? 

David says later: "You are not sent here to make a farm. You are not sent here to make a business. You are sent here to be a disciple of Christ. Sometimes you have to do a few of those things along the way to support yourself. He was a carpenter. He worked, but that wasn't his life. His life was to do the will of God." 

And might I add, we are not sent here to have fun and rub elbows with the world. This is not the example Christ gave for his followers. We are to pattern our lives and activities after the pattern CHRIST gave us, not after the pattern of the world.

I am reminded of my recent experiment to try having a facebook page for my other blog. I was hoping to build up a fan base of some kind so I could eventually share a recipe book I'm working on. A few months was all it took. All of these people 'like' my page and in order for me to get anywhere I have to 'like' their page and we have to interact with each other ... yet the only thing we have in common is cooking or gardening or some other similar, activity of no good eternal value. Yes we have to cook and yes it's ok to have a garden, but if this is where your fellowship is then it's quite shallow. No thanks, I'm not interested. It took a few months of trying it out to come to this conclusion and it's very clear to me that it's just not worth it. It takes time and effort to build it up ... and build it up for what? What is more important? I'd rather be transcribing a message :) Life here on earth is much too short. I'd rather 'redeem the time because the days ARE evil.'

Who are we trying to please?

I'm currently working on transcribing David's message from a few weeks ago titled: The Face of the Deep. If you have not listened to it, I highly suggest you do so now. There is a lot of good stuff in there, and some of it is pointed right at us women.  A blessing and encouragement for sure.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Genesis 3:16

While travelling recently with brethren, one of them brought up Genesis 3:16 and how it read in various versions and translations. There's quite the difference, however one very obviously fits the context. This is going to be a very scattered post. All scripture was taken from Bible Gateway - an online tool I appreciate for doing comparisons like this.

First, the KJV ... of which I often get frustrated at for writing things in such a way that seems to muddy the waters of an otherwise clear passage. This is probably not KJV fault but maybe just 400+ years of change in our language and understanding and use of various words (for instance, not very long ago the word 'gay' meant happy, yet how many youth today know that? It only took a few decades to totally change the meaning of that word). But ... I DO believe KJV translators had some biases. We must be careful. Even still, I appreciate the KJV ... most of the time ...

KJV
Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.

This is supposed to be a curse. Will anyone argue with me that a man WANTS his wife to desire him? I don't think so! So obviously in the context of the passage this is not what is being said. Some brethren brought up the NLT which reads:


Then he said to the woman,
“I will sharpen the pain of your pregnancy,
    and in pain you will give birth.
And you will desire to control your husband,
    but he will rule over you

Message (a.k.a. mess)
 He told the Woman:
“I’ll multiply your pains in childbirth;
    you’ll give birth to your babies in pain.
You’ll want to please your husband,
    but he’ll lord it over you.”


Pretty different, huh?

A footnote in the English Standard Version (ESV) and the English Standard Version Anglicised (ESVUK) said "your desire shall be FOR your husband" could read "your desire shall be AGAINST your husband"
A footnote in the NLT (posted above with 'you will desire to control your husband') says: Or And though you will have desire for your husband, / he will rule over you.

Seriously? Is it really that hard to understand? "It could be "for" ... or it could be "against" ... completely opposite.


The Expanded Bible (EXB) with the verse the referenced says:
Then God said to the woman,
“I will ·cause you to have much trouble [or increase your pain]
    ·when you are pregnant [in childbearing],
and when you give birth to children,
    you will have great pain.
You will greatly desire [C the word implies a desire to control; 4:7] your husband,
    but he will rule over you.”
Genesis 4:7 that it refers to in the text is this:
If you do things ·well [correctly; appropriately], ·I will [L will I not…?] accept you, but if you do not do them ·well [correctly; appropriately], sin is ·ready to attack you [L crouching at the door]. Sin ·wants [desires to control; 3:16] you, but you must rule over it.”
1599 Geneva Bible
Unto the woman he said, I will greatly increase thy sorrows, and thy conceptions. In sorrow shalt thou bring forth children, and thy desire shall be subject to thine husband, and he shall rule over thee.

Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition (DRA)

and thou shalt be under thy husband's power, and he shall have dominion over thee.

A lot of the translations say "in spite of this" or something similar instead of "YET" ... your desire shall be for your husband; in spite of this he will rule over you (basically). That and "yet" totally change the whole meaning of the verse. Some say 'but". Some say "and"... your desire shall be for your husband but he will rule over you. Your desire shall be for your husband and he will rule over you.

Check out the Living Bible (TLB)
Then God said to the woman, “You shall bear children in intense pain and suffering; yet even so, you shall welcome your husband’s affections, and he shall be your master.”

Hmmmm.....

NET New English Translation
To the woman he said,
“I will greatly increase your labor pains;
with pain you will give birth to children.
You will want to control your husband,
but he will dominate you.”
Wycliffe Bible (WYC)
Also God said to the woman, I shall multiply thy wretchednesses and thy conceivings; in sorrow thou shalt bear thy children; and thou shalt be under (the) power of thine husband, and he shall be lord of thee.

The Voice (what?! interesting) (to the woman) As a consequence of your actions,
        I will increase your suffering—the pain of childbirth
    And the sorrow of bringing forth the next generation.
        You will desire your husband; but rather than a companion,
    He will be the dominant partner.
Well, I think you get my point. Why all the differences? These differences can really shake the faith of someone who puts their trust in man instead of God.

Let's just be honest: women really DO desire to rule over their husbands. It takes a woman that is totally committed to God's will to be able to overcome this desire and be in her proper place. The scriptures are so clear: God, Christ, Man, Woman. So many times in the New Testament we are told to submit, obey, be quiet, be meek, chaste, keepers at home, etc. This seems like bondage to the outside looking in (see my last post), however for a woman that really fears and loves God, being in her proper place is the only way she obtains true peace and freedom.



Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Bondage

So often us sisters are accused of being in bondage because we cover our heads and dress modestly. If I had a dollar for every time I have heard the phrase "You're in BONDAGE!" or something similar, I'd have a pretty decent sized pile of cash. In this post I will be taking a closer look at this bondage I am accused of being in ... but I'd like to start with the other side (of which I used to be a part of).

One that conforms to the ways of this world must get up earlier in the morning in order get ready for their day. It would look something like this. Shower (or maybe it's done the night before). Decide which outfit to wear, being sure to have everything coordinating. Sometimes this involves trying more than one outfit on before one is chosen. Sometimes this also involves leaving the closet, drawer and/or room a bit untidy, especially if pressed for time ... only to have to come back at a later time in the day to put things back in order (or just leave a perpetual mess). Who cares about comfort? Looking good is at the top of the list. Tight waist-lines that feel worse and worse as the day goes on, tight pant legs that restrict the normal flow of blood and sometimes cause the legs to ache. No matter as long as we look good. Fix hair (which could involve various gadgets that plug into the wall ... blow dryer, curling iron, straightening iron, etc. and styling products chemicals such as hairspray or gel). Check eyebrows and pluck what does not belong. Put on makeup (foundation, powder, eye shadow, eye liner, mascara, blush, lipstick/gloss ... maybe even line the lips and curl the lashes). Top it all off with coordinating jewelry - earrings, necklace, bracelet(s). And let's not forget the shoes. Which ones match today's outfit? And a purse - if the current one looks off we might have to take all the contents out and swap with a purse that better matches the flow of today's outfit.

How much TIME does this all take? An hour? An hour and a half? And what is it all for anyway?

Now even further - all of these things need a place to live. Dressers, drawers, cabinets, hooks, boxes, etc. Space is needed. Of course all of these things cost money; not only the items themselves but the storage containers too. LOTS of money when all is said and done (but it will never be done). A lot of time must be spent shopping for said items. Sometimes it's easier to pay extra money for premier items rather than rummaging around through bargain bins, clearance racks and other such promotions.

Now for my side of it. It takes me less than 5 minutes to get dressed, put my hair back, put on a covering and socks and shoes. My selection is limited (on purpose ... it's so much easier that way) and my colours are few. I do not have to think about what I am going to wear. Yes, it takes a little time to make a jumper or tunic, however once it's done it's done, and they last a long time. A quick run through the thrift shop might reveal something modest enough to wear ... for $1 an item. No chemicals on my face, body or in my hair. I don't need a mirror to put my hair up and go for days on end without even looking in to one. My clothing is comfortable, loose and flowing.

Now I ask, who is in bondage here?

The inspiration for this post came from something that the brothers said the other day. A group of us went to fellowship with another group in Indiana. The brothers went preaching in Cincinnati, OH and the next day were sharing some observations and stories. Bars had special areas outside (in front) to stand in and socialize but you had to go through the bar first to get out to the special fenced area. The fence was not really a fence but a small barrier which was easy to move and easy to step over if one wanted to. These little outdoor areas were crammed with people, elbow to elbow in such a small space. From within that came a voice saying "You guys are in BONDAGE!" talking to the brothers on the sidewalk ... who had plenty of space.

Again, who is in bondage here? I know the answer because I have been on both sides - not in hypocrisy either. (because there are plenty that say "I tried being a christian but ...." that's just hypocrisy)


Thursday, June 26, 2014

"I'm Going To Bed"

I have seen this circulating around the web and must say it is so very shameful and disrespectful. What makes me even more sad about it is that I have seen it being circulated among professing christian women with plenty of 'thumbs up' or other similar affirmatives.


We are to honour our husbands, not tear them down. Whoever agrees with this picture and says they are following Christ needs to seriously examine themselves. Even if you truly believe this is a 100% accurate depiction of your home and marriage life (and even if it IS TRUE) your job is to look in the mirror of God's word and be the most godly woman you know how to be, not criticize your husband ... which is very hypocritical.

Maybe this 'wife' should have skipped her evening devotional reading and just practised living godly instead? Hear Samuel: "Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice..."

On a side note, many of the things listed on the 'wife's' side probably could have been done long before bed and even long before the husband got home. Toys for instance should have been picked up and put away by the children ... if they are old enough to play with them, they are old enough to put them away. If they do not want to put them away then they should not be allowed to have them.

Anyway, I am just really bothered by stuff like this. Please show your love for God by truly loving your husband.