Monday, December 31, 2007

Building Treasure in Heaven …

In response to a previous post on the disappearing woman, a reader has taken me to task for, as she perceives, destroying my temple by being self-deprecating and by making myself a slave to people who dishonor me and misuse me and disregard my work. If I am not to be concerned about body and raiment (Luke 12:23) and I am to be about building treasure in heaven (Matt 6:19-21), then I do not need the approbation of my fellows, nor self-congratulation for my efforts at obedience (Prov 31:31).

"Dear Sarah,

It wasn't three men, it was ten, and seven of them would not be ruled by him and that is the story of those who are not meek and quiet …

In the parable of the pounds, the young nobleman who went to the far land to get a kingdom (Luke 19:12) called ten of his servants and gave them each one minas and said to engage in business until he comes. But his citizens hated him and would not have the man reign over them. These were the same servants who were told to do business for him. So when he returned one servant had multiplied what he'd been given by ten, one by five--one had done nothing and had what he'd been given taken from him. And the servants who would not have the nobleman rule over them were brought before the nobleman and slaughtered. In this parable told mere days before Calvary, Jesus, the nobleman, who would go to heaven to receive a kingdom, had come to earth from heaven to acomplish the work the Father had given Him (John 17:4). He'd come like a helpmate, like a wife in this world--He'd come to His own people and they would not receive Him (John 1:11-12). He'd come very much like the woman in this post, who did not receive respect, who was invisible, and who is today being slandered for her lack of assertiveness.

Disciples are very much the temple of God, but this has been poorly understood, for the new creature, born of spirit, is neither male nor female, Jew nor Greek (Gal 3:28), yet the body remains male or female. So it is the body, not the new creature who is the temple. The new creature is part of a holy nation a royal priesthood, a nation that was not before a nation (1 Pet 2:9-10) and the new creature dwells in the body as a Levite dwelt in the temple--this indwelling being to serve a nation and to teach the way of God. The woman who insists upon exercising her rights has not left spiritual Babylon."

__Sarah said...
I am certainly not in any way an atheist, but this here is self-destruction. Even Jesus teaches that the body is a temple of God and should be cared of properly! If you give up everything for people who are cold as ice and full of contempt against you (because that's exactly what is showed in such actions!) so you will make God cry about you and not be proud!

Do you remember this story about the 3 men and their master? The master was away and gave to each of the men some talent (money in those times). The first man doubled his talent during the absence of the master, the second man doubled his talent during his absence, but the third man was afraid of the gift and buried it in the earth (humble???). And what happened? When the master came back, the 1st and 2nd man were rewarded for being eager and honoring the masters gifts in the proper way - the 3rd man was punished for dishonoring the master! I learned this story as a child in the Sunday school, it is inside the New Covenant - you disregard the gifts and talents God gave to you, if you bury them in earth and self destruction, instead of using them and learning and improving them, you make yourself a slave to people who dishonor you and misuse you and disregard your work, no you do NOT build a cathedral, maybe a cathedral of self-destruction - the kind craftsman working on the cathedral would never build it, if he would behave like you, he would have stayed at home and serve ice cold people as a servant, he would not find the courage to do great things in life and do creative work, which WILL be remembered, he knew this, he was just not egoistic to work for fame, he worked to fulfill the gifts God gave him and which were written in his heart.

God NEVER rewards self-destruction, like any destruction. And you know that. It is written in your heart. If you disregard the talents given to you, your life will become more and more dark and cold...

I pray for your kind soul to come back on the trail of the heart.__

Monday, October 01, 2007

Tabernacles - Feast of the Seventh Month

Portrait de Jeune Fille en Costume d'Arles' by Antoine Raspal, 1779

The feast of the seventh month, or Tabernacles, or Succoth, will end this week. Huguenots, French Protestants, kept this feast of eight days always beginning on the first Friday of September, which means seventh. This is a time of feasting and looking forward to ultimate peace with family and friends . . .

Monday, September 24, 2007

Perspective: The Invisible Woman

--By Nicole Johnson [this was received in my inbox, I could help but pass it on]

It started to happen gradually. One day I was walking my son Jake to school. I was holding his hand and we were about to cross the street when the crossing guard said to him, “Who is that with you, young fella?” “Nobody,” he shrugged. “Nobody?” The crossing guard and I laughed. My son is only 5, but as we crossed the street I thought, “Oh my goodness, nobody?”

I would walk into a room and no one would notice. I would say something to my family - like “Turn the TV down, please” - and nothing would happen. Nobody would get up, or even make a move for the remote. I would stand there for a minute, and then I would say again, a little louder, “Would someone turn the TV down?” Nothing.

Just the other night my husband and I were out at a party. We'd been there for about three hours and I was ready to leave. I noticed he was talking to a friend from work. So I walked over, and when there was a break in the conversation, I whispered, “I'm ready to go when you are.” He just kept right on talking.

That's when I started to put all the pieces together. I don't think he can see me. I don't think anyone can see me. I'm invisible.

It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phone and ask to be taken to the store. Inside I'm thinking,”Can't you see I'm on the phone?”

Obviously not! No one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all.

I'm invisible.

Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more: Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this? Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a clock to ask,”What time is it?” I'm a satellite guide to answer, “What number is the Disney Channel?” I'm a car to order,”Right around 5:30, please.”

I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history and the mind that graduated summa cum laude -but now they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again.

She's going she's going she's gone!

One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England. Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself as I looked down at my out-of-style dress; it was the only thing I could find that was clean. My unwashed hair was pulled up in a banana clip and I was afraid I could actually smell peanut butter in it. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, “I brought you this.”

It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe. I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her inscription: “To Charlotte, with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.”

In the days ahead I would read - no, devour - the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work: * No one can say who built the great cathedrals - we have no record of their names. * These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished. * They made great sacrifices and expected no credit. * The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.

A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, “Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof? No one will ever see it.” And the workman replied, “Because God sees.”

I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, “I see you, Charlotte. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does. No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will become.”

At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a disease that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of my own self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride.

I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on. The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree.

When I really think about it, I don't want my son to tell the friend he's bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, “My mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for three hours and presses all the linens for the table.” That would mean I'd built a shrine or a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, to add, “You're gonna love it there.”

As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we're doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

This symbolic garment of grace …

The Apostle writes that his people, natural Israel, stumbled, that through their trespass salvation could come to Gentiles, with salvation forming a new nation of Israel (1 Pet 2:9-10), one reckoned not through physical descent but through spiritual descent, so as to make natural Israel jealous (Rom 11:11, 14).

Pause for a moment: how will worshiping on Sunday and eating swine’s flesh make natural Israel jealous? All either will do is repulse the natural Jew, causing him to look with distain upon the poor goyim who are so foolish as to think they have favor with God through their disobedience. Only by living as a Jew without being physically circumcised and without having descended from the patriarchs will the natural Jew feel jealousy.

Today, even the goyim that live by the commandments of God, keeping the weekly Sabbath as well as the high Sabbaths, do not make the natural Jew jealous for these goyim have no love, no “works,” no spiritual fruit; plus, they eat cheeseburgers. They are spiritually dead (not because they eat cheeseburgers), collectively a corpse that utters words without understanding. Nor do these Sabbath-observing goyim make Anabaptist Christendom jealous, for the women of these Sabbatarians do not cover their hair. Their women look like the world and act like the world. They might as well be the world.

Question: would a Sabbatarian wearing an Amish cap make the Amish jealous? How about wearing an Old German Baptist cap, or a Mennonite mesh cap?

Grace is the “covering” of Christ Jesus’ righteousness, put on daily by prayer as if His righteousness were a garment. A woman’s attire and her head covering are symbolic of this garment of Grace through which the sins of the disciple are not visible to the Father or to the angels. A garment of grace made from mesh would not hide the lawlessness of the disciple.

If Christians are to be lights to this world, what sort of lights are bare-headed Christian women to Muslim women? A light of liberation? Or a light of rebellion against the authority of God?

Friday, April 20, 2007

“Wives don’t have to obey their husbands.”

"In 1977, Mr. Earl Roemer took a pastorate in Anchorage and Kenai Alaska. He held his first Bible study on the Kenai Peninsula sometime in the late fall, and he began this Bible study by saying, “Wives don’t have to obey their husbands.” He might as well have poured diesel fuel in a campfire: flames of anger swept the room as men insisted that, indeed, wives had to obey their husbands. What these men hadn’t heard, though, was Roemer’s emphasis on have to.

The Bible study began at 7:00 pm, and was still going at 1:30 am.

The point Roemer attempted to make was that in the church of God, wives “choose” to obey husbands. Husbands are not to lord it over their wives, holding their wives hostage to Scripture." Homer Kizer

As men cannot command other men to accept salvation, men cannot command women to become meek and quiet. A man can command women to cover their hair if these women want to fellowship with a certain assembly of disciples, but the person who covered against her will is only outwardly compliant. Only her flesh complies with the command to meekness. And the flesh will not be saved.

For women, the journey of faith from Babylon to Jerusalem will have the inner son of God, born of Spirit, who has a meek and contrite spirit manifesting this meekness through actions of the flesh, with one of those actions likely being expressed in modest or even plain dress and the covering of the head. Likewise, for men the journey from Babylon to Jerusalem will have the inner son of God who has a meek and contrite spirit manifesting this meekness—a horse is “meeked” when broken to bit—through rejection of the values of this world which elevates pride in possessions and accomplishments (as the values of this world elevates outward feminine beauty and the adorning of the hair), and pursing instead the things of God as a servant broken to do the will of God. Therefore, the one who is greatest with God is the one who serves the most, not the one who accumulates the most things or most secular power.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Faith Like Abraham's …

The Apostle Peter said: God has made no distinction between natural Israel and Gentiles converts, having cleansed the hearts of those Gentile converts by faith (Acts 15:7, 9). Receiving a circumcised heart and mind requires faith of the magnitude Abraham displayed when leaving kith and kin and journeying to Canaan where he sought a city whose builder and designer was the Lord (Heb 11:8-10). A circumcised heart doesn’t require physical circumcision, or sidelocks, or fringe, or any physical thing [even plain dressing--although Peter does specifically address women's attire] to remind the person of the Commandments, for the laws of God are written on the heart and placed in the mind through receipt of the Holy Spirit. It doesn’t require relocating home and business to physical Jerusalem. The ruling of the Jerusalem Council was simplified in the letter sent out:
The brothers, both the apostles and the elders, to the brothers who are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Celicia, greetings. Since we have heard that some persons have gone out from us and troubled you with words, unsettling your minds, although we gave them no instructions, it has seemed good to us, having come to one accord, to choose men and send them to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, men who have risked their lives for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ. We have therefore sent Judas and Silas, who themselves will tell you the same things by word of mouth. For it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay on you no greater burden than these requirements: that you abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols, and from blood, and from what has been strangled, and from sexual immortality. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well. Farewell. (Acts 15:23-29)

What degree of faith is necessary for a Greek living as a Greek to turn to God, profess that Jesus is Lord, and cease living as a Greek, cease eating blood, cease eating meats that were strangled so as to retain the blood, cease eating meats offered to idols, cease frequenting prostitutes, and begin entering the synagogue on the Sabbath day to hear Moses read (Acts 15:21)? Is not the above degree of faith comparable to the faith of Abraham who left home and kin to journey to Canaan, the Promised Land, the visible representation of God’s rest? It is, isn’t it? And since it is, then do these Greek converts need to do anything more to have their hearts cleansed by faith? They don’t, do they?

What about the children of these Gentiles? They will grow up not eating blood or meats strangled or offered to idols, and will grow up in a household shunning all forms of sexual immorality. What degree of faith is required of them to continue doing what they grew up doing? Not much? That is correct, not much. If a child grows to maturity in an environment where the laws of God are kept, the child will keep these laws as part of the expectation of the household. Solomon wrote, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it” (Prov 22:6). Both Lenin and the Roman Church have similar sayings.

It takes considerable faith to leave kith and kin and the practices of the household in which a child grew to maturity, but no great amount of faith is required to continue doing what the person has always done, and this includes keeping the commandments of God as well as keeping the limited requirements of the Jerusalem Council.

The limited requirements of the Council were addressed to a specific audience as a solution to a specific problem, just as the ordination of deacons to serve the neglected Hellenists widows was the solution to the first serious conflict the Church addressed (Acts 6:1-6). There will be no next generation like the generation of the Gentile households that first professed that Jesus is Lord. The next generation will not be without knowledge of Jesus. The next generation will not grow up eating blood and visiting prostitutes. So what is an appropriate action of faith (an act that will cleanse hearts) for the first generation of Gentile converts will not be an appropriate action of faith for the next generation. Rather, the second generation of disciples must go beyond the first generation in deeds; for faith of a comparable quality to that of the first generation’s must be displayed by this second generation. Doing what the first generation did is not enough, for the second generation does not begin where the first generation began. Therefore, before the hearts of the second generation will be cleansed by faith and spiritually circumcised, this second generation must display faith of the quality of the patriarch Abraham.

If you are being convicted to plain dressing and headcovering, and your kith and kin have no such tradition, does not your forsaking of tradition and beginning to live your new faith equate to beginning the journey of faith like our father Abraham? Welcome to the journey …

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Review - Christian Dress & Adornment

"Even those who disagree with some of the author's positions will find CHRISTIAN DRESS AND ADORNMENT worth reading..."

Book Description
"In CHRISTIAN DRESS AND ADORNMENT Samuele Bacchiocchi reminds us that while clothes do not make a Christian, Christians do reveal their identity through their clothes and appearance. The Bible does not prescribe a standardized dress for Christian men and *women, but it calls us to follow the simplicity and unpretentiousness of **Jesus’ lifestyle, even in our clothes and appearance. The Christian priority is not the external decoration of the body with costly clothes and ornaments, but the internal beautification of the soul with the love of Christ.

This book examines the Biblical teachings regarding dress, cosmetics, and ornaments. Seven basic principles regarding dress and adornment are developed from a careful analysis of the relevant Biblical passages. [One] chapter address the specific question of the unisex fashion promoted today. Christian Dress and Adornment is an important book designed to help Christians distinguish between the capricious mode that changes and the sensible style that remains." … Amazon Review

Purchase Christian Dress & Adornment from Amazon.

*The author avoids the discussion of requisite headcoverings for women (1 Cor 11:1-16) and the proscription of headcoverings for men while praying.

**Jesus’ lifestyle may have been simple, but His robe was of such high quality that Roman soldiers chose to cast lots for the privilege of having the entire robe, instead of ripping the fabric to share (John 19:23-24).

Saturday, February 03, 2007

How does one escape the world?

It’s hard to become engaged in politics and not become part of the world. It’s pretty hard to follow the dictates of fashion and not be a part of the world. It’s even harder to keep up with the Joneses and not be part of the world. And it’s pretty hard to keep the holidays of the world without becoming enmeshed in worldly things.

In the democratic West it is an implied part of good citizenship to vote and to volunteer on committees, for school and all of the other places where civil government is formed. Yet, if one is to come out of the world, one gives up allegiances to all and becomes devoted to the kingdom of God.

If you are not at the mercy of the latest fashion whim, one will dress modestly, not adorning oneself with jewels and costly array. One will begin looking like a plain dresser who is not one step behind the fashion police but lives separated from the dictates of fashion. Clothing now serves a functional place of both identifying gender as well as covering the body, keeping it warm in the winter and cool in the summer.

If one is not concerned with what the neighbors have or the car they drive or the toys they possess, then one becomes truly independent and liberated from bondage to the expectations of society. Why does a person need a half-acre of mown grass for a front yard and the riding mower required for its maintenance—why not a half acre of blueberries or whatever the property owner desires? The dictates of fashion and cultural expectations restricts the freedoms of a person and changes liberty into servitude.

Why celebrate the holidays of this world if one wants to come out of the world? Why succumb to the shopping madness that causes half of all retail sales to occur in the weeks before Christmas? Why do one's major shopping on the Sabbath--if a person really wants to come out of the world, why not keep the Sabbath? But that might be asking too much of even those who profess to desire to come out of the world. If a person wants to truly come out of the world a person will give up all of those things that originate in implied and unstated social obligations made to the prince of this world.

Yet to be a witness and a light to neighbors, near and far, adherence to certain social conventions are necessary. A person cannot reek of BO and produce any favorable impression. A person cannot look as if she were a troll living under the nearest bridge and be a positive witness for Christ. So escaping isn’t possible—all that remains possible is exercising control over the freedom extended by being called out of the world. Exercising this freedom comes with the price of being a reliable witness for Christ who lived as an Observant Jew. Freedom from bondage to disobedience does not mean freedom from the law. Too many who desire to leave the world keep one foot in it by maintaining the shackles of disobedience.

By faith I keep the laws of God to the best of my ability. I keep the Sabbaths of God and the principles of clean and unclean meats to the best of my ability. I try to keep in the forefront of my mind “But he [is] a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision [is that] of the heart, in the spirit, [and] not in the letter; whose praise [is] not of men, but of God (Rom 2:29)." My modest dress is moving towards plain as plain dressers’ obedience should begin to encompass obedience to all of the laws of God, not just nine of them.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Making a Covering

As I sit here in my little warm office, listening to WETA classical radio on NPR via my computer with streaming audio, I am so thankful for modern conveniences. I have a soft chair and lots of light and I can toggle my computer screen to play a series of photos gleaned from the web of Amish and Mennonite and other covering women, of reenactors in 18thC costume and French or Nouvelle France situations and I am going back in time. … Hand stitching instead of sewing by machine, using 100% linen, recycled from my first chemise makes this a frugal cap, my first used from Friends pattern #500, Traditional Amish Head Covering, has been a comfort--it will not be my last--I plan to make one in a larger size and one in black linen, as well.

I am reminded of the reenactorism, "Idle hands are the Devil's workshop," a phrase uttered often during living history scenarios--a phrase to go with the many hand jobs that women did with no conveniences, and which public viewing the living history have forgotten how to do. This quiet time allows me to think back over the wonderful things of God I have learned and will continue to learn as I develop a meek and quiet spirit.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Can a football game be a study in becoming meek & quiet?

And the answer is a resounding yes!

Boise State University, touted as a classic David against Goliath (Oklahoma’s Sooners), wowed the nation and won our hearts with their quiet determination, sportsmanlike conduct and flawlessly completed new twists on old textbook plays to win the Fiesta Bowl on New Year’s Day.

When interviewed after the game, both coach and quarterback named backup quarterbacks for the ingenious twist on the hook-and-lateral play that won the game by one point in overtime–no one hogged the limelight. BSU did not seem to have star players but each player worked as a team, a hallmark of great coaching.

But why this post on Boise State? I grew up in Boise; saw Boise Junior College turn into Boise State College and then become Boise State University. I attended BSU, studying anthropology, history and art; I went on to other things. But after screaming and yelling and jumping up and down with excitement (as I was assured by my daughter that others were doing in the streets of Boise after the game when I called her at 1:00 a.m. my time), I couldn’t be more proud of my school: right then I could not wish for more than the chance for any boy to grow up and be a part of such a team. When the coach and the quarterback and the receiver were thrust into the limelight, their words and praise were for the team and all the players’ efforts, not their own. Truly, even men have learned to become meek and quiet, their victory being called "the game of the century."