25 December 2008
So much Joy and Peace and Love these days. :)
But, should Christmas, the man-made holiday, not fulfill its promises of life changes (such as we saw in Mr. Scrooge or George Bailey), we are blessed to know that there is One who always keeps promises, and Who blesses above and beyond all that we wish or dream.
We, in our man-made glitter and warmth, sometimes must look to people and things to remind us of Hope, and Faith, and True Love. And while these expedients are often necessary for our small physical minds to grasp the greatness of spiritual glories, may we never let the reflection of Those Things block our vision of Who they represent. Let not our kindness and gift-giving (or in contrast, let not our avoidance of things of the world which only have the appearance of good things) be seen by others certain times of the year, or of the week. But let us live this "Christmas Spirit" - this life of unconditional Love and devotion to Truth - each and every day.
True Love and Joy and Peace to you and your loved ones, both now and always.
PROMISES TO KEEP
On a cold December morning
All is calm
And the world is still asleep
That have been caught without warning
Gently glitter on
Stars to wish upon
All the world is at peace
Christmas time and the year will soon be leaving
Cloaked in time till it's just a memory
Christmas stays if we don't forget its meaning
Days go quickly by
Years they multiply
And we go searching for thee
And the dream is still alive
From that first December morning
And it always will survive
As long as we can see
That the dreams we find in life
Are the dreams we tend to seek
And Christmas has its promises to keep
And the moments just beginning
From last night
When we'd wished upon a star
If our kindness
This day is just pretending
If we pretend long enough
Never giving up
It just might be who we are
And so it's good that we remember
Just as soon as we've discovered
That the things we do in life
Will always end up touching others
- Trans Siberian Orchestra
09 December 2008
"Charles Dickens has probably had more influence on the way that we celebrate Christmas today than any single individual in human history except one.
"At the beginning of the Victorian period the celebration of Christmas was in decline. The medieval Christmas traditions, which combined the celebration of the birth of Christ with the ancient Roman festival of Saturnalia (a pagan celebration for the Roman god of agriculture), and the Germanic winter festival of Yule, had come under intense scrutiny by the Puritans under Oliver Cromwell. The Industrial Revolution, in full swing in Dickens' time, allowed workers little time for the celebration of Christmas.
"The romantic revival of Christmas traditions that occurred in Victorian times had other contributors: Prince Albert brought the German custom of decorating the Christmas tree to England, the singing of Christmas carols (which had all but disappeared at the turn of the century) began to thrive again, and the first Christmas card appeared in the 1840s. But it was the Christmas stories of Dickens, particularly his 1843 masterpiece A Christmas Carol, that rekindled the joy of Christmas in Britain and America. Today, after more than 160 years, A Christmas Carol continues to be relevant, sending a message that cuts through the materialistic trappings of the season and gets to the heart and soul of the holidays.
"Dickens' describes the holidays as "a good time: a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time: the only time I know of in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of other people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys". This was what Dickens described for the rest of his life as the "Carol Philosophy".
"Dickens' name had become so synonymous with Christmas that on hearing of his death in 1870 a little costermonger's girl in London asked, "Mr. Dickens dead? Then will Father Christmas die too?""
- found at Dicken's Christmas page
photo of Dickens lady costume from this website
online video viewers, don't miss this four part youtube contribution of Richard Williams (and Chuck Jones) 1971 animated version of the Dickens Christmas Classic. It's a spooky one. Part 1 of 4 is linked below.
Oh, and "God make you mighty, gentlefolk". As "God rest ye merry, gentlemen" is prominent in this selection, it is useful to know the old fashioned meaning of the lyrics. Check out "Ace Collins' Songs of Christmas", for one. And enjoy this instrumental version performed by Simeon Wood.
02 November 2008
Titus 2, verse 2: First of all, “Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled.” There’s our word—sophron—self-controlled. It’s of a sound mind. They’re to be “sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness.”
Verse 3: “Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women…”
Now, you don’t see the word “self-control” there, but that word “train” is in the same family in the original Greek language as the word sophron. It actually means to train them to have sound minds, to train them to think soundly, to train them to be sober-minded.
You don’t see all of that in the English translation, but that’s what’s behind it in the original. “Train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled” (verse 4). There’s our word again, sophron—sober-minded, of a sound mind. In the New American Standard Bible, you have the word sensible there. Sensible, discreet in the King James, sound-minded, of sound thinking.
That word sophron is something that, as we saw in the last session, is rooted in sound doctrine. First of all, we have to think correctly about God’s Word: Who He is, and what the gospel is, and what it looks like, and how it works. If we have sound doctrine, then that will result in sound thinking about all of life—wise, discreet, sensible, self-controlled, sound thinking about all of life. That will result in sound living.
One Bible dictionary talks about this word sophron—sensible, self-controlled. It says "this is a person that has developed the ability to govern or discipline himself, his mind, his passions, his affections, and his behavior." So it’s putting the reign on your life—your affections, your behavior, your tongue, your thoughts. Everything is being reigned in by the Holy Spirit as a result of having thinking that is sound.
23 October 2008
As we live our lives, we do take in the world around us, not living in fear of it, but aware and understanding, and on guard for our hearts and our families.
Christian ladies, please consider this one man's thoughts and understanding of the Bible and politics: "For Whom Should a Christian Vote?"
Other thoughts on this topic by this author include:
"We Christians need to get back to what the Bible teaches us about politics. God only ever legislated that we care about one issue politically and that is found in I Timothy 2:1-2. He asked us to care that our leaders would allow us to lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and diginified in every way. Interestingly, God did not ask us to do anything political to make that happen. He asked us to pray.
. . .
"Let me also point out that God has not once ever laid on us the responsibility of trying to get the right kind of leader over our nation. Therefore, He has never laid on us any responsibility regarding our vote. It simply isn't in the Bible. If it is, please show me the book, chapter and verse.
"I do believe we are allowed to vote. I believe each of us is allowed to vote based on the issues we believe are most important. I have most often voted based on issues of abortion. I may do that again this year. Though, frankly, I am far more concerned about the fiscal positions of the candidates than their moral positions. I am thankful that the candidate I'm thinking of voting for lines up with me on both fiscal and moral issues. I don't have to make the choice.
"The point, however, is this. God has not ever directed our votes. He hasn't asked us to vote. He has not given us the responsibility to vote. He has never asked us to pass on His will via political means. Therefore, it is high time that Christians hop of their high political horses and quit acting like their candidate is God's man. It is high time Christians got back to spreading God's will the way God asked--talking to people about the Gospel. It is high time that Christians quit trying to act like God has some stake in a nation being democratic. Lest you forget, the one time God set up a nation--it was a theocratic monarchy. Therefore, it is high time we quit making a person's vote a test of their spirituality and Christianity.
"Additionally, it is also high time Christians quit throwing out their Christianity during election time. I am no fan of Obama. I hope he loses. I think he will be bad for the country. But I am so sick of receiving e-mails filled with speculative and often completely fallacious stuff to try to scare me from voting for Obama.
"Obama has not ever said he would choose his religion of Islam over his nation. He has consistently claimed to be a Christian. The statement that he would stand with the Muslims has been taken out of context and misused. He was not saying he would choose Islam over America. He was writing specifically about the issue of investigating American Muslims in the same way Japanese Americans were investigated during WWII and said if the politics of America shifted in favor of mistreating Americans because they are Muslim, he would stand with the Muslims.
"Slander and malice is not allowed among Christians even during elections. Further, we are commanded to honor our governing authorities and these commands were given when the authorities were far less favorable to Christianity than Obama will ever be. "
21 October 2008
". . . teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children. . ." (Titus 2:3-4)
Something to listen to today, if you have a half hour, or you can read the transcript:
"Letting God shape your husband...", from Revive Our Hearts.
I think you could get something out of that in learning how to let God take care of your child, your best friend, that person you worship with...
"He who grows in grace remembers that he is but dust, and he therefore does not expect his fellow Christians to be anything more [including your husband]. He overlooks ten thousand of their faults, because he knows his God overlooks twenty thousand in his own case. He does not expect perfection in the creature, and, therefore, he is not disappointed when he does not find it." - Charles Spurgeon
The lesson from the day before this one, on how to love your husband is really good too.
Remember Tevye and Golde from "Fiddler on the Roof"?
17 October 2008
Did you ever read Proverbs 31:11-12 from the Amplified Bible - which takes several translations of the original language and combines them to get a closer possible understanding of the passage?
The heart of her husband trusts in her confidently and relies on and believes in her securely, so that he has no lack of [honest] gain or need of [dishonest] spoil.
She comforts, encourages, and does him only good as long as there is life within her.
My husband is a good man, very devoted to God and to his family, very loving and concerned for our Christian Family. He has an enormous weight on his mind and shoulders, from the responsibility given him by the Lord, whether he lives up to it perfectly or not. He loves me, regardless of whether I'm perfect or not. And I need to respect him and love him as well. Because God loves us first - so who are we to be so judgmental of others? And why do I want to give anyone, especially the person that I live with, more troubles, when I am supposed to be encouraging? I do not want to break my husband's trust in me, so I don't share problems, or secrets. And he knows that I would rather build him up in public, rather than makes jokes about him which would put him down. At least he should know that. :)
But... what if he were way less than perfect? I remember wondering when I was single, if I wound up with a louse or simply someone who didn't seem to care, could I be like Abigail, or Deborah, or Timothy's mother, and do the Right thing anyway. Of course, not being in that position, and being full of youthful zeal, I assumed that - even if he was abusive, I would be in prayer and study. Even if he kept me from a church family, I would be strong. But I know that even with the great guy I live with, and the church Families that have encouraged us so, I have had many times of personal weakness, when I return mean word for mean word, I expect more of him than myself, I don't do what I know that I should for some personal pet peeve... not considering him, but only interested in defending Myself. But, I still have a purpose and responsibility myself, to do good, regardless of how I perceive myself to be treated.
Here is another quote:
"Now, by saying that, I don’t necessarily mean absolutely. There are times when to do good to a husband may mean to appeal to the appropriate authorities at the church or the civil authorities. If a husband is breaking the law, to do him good is to get him into a position where he can be helped by the law, or restrained by the law, or by the church authorities." - Nancy Leigh DeMoss
I think that this makes sense. God never commanded us, through Proverbs or through Jesus Christ or the Apostles of the New Testament, as women, to merely "sit down and shut up", to be servile huntin' dogs who grovel at a cruel dictator's feet and still lick his hand after he's kicked us in the head. Jesus did not command that of men or of women. Look it up - that's not what "doing good" is all about, and it isn't what "submission" is all about.
Neither do I "do good" just because he "does good" to me first. That's the wrong motivation, if I'm just trying to "50-50" our relationship. I heard once that a marriage (or any Christian relationship really) should be "100-100": I give everything, you give everything. I can't expect the other person to give everything if I'm holding back. And if he's holding back? Where does the Bible say anything about "submitting to one another in the fear of Christ, but only when it's entirely equal submission between believers"?
"Doing good" so that I can be trusted is something for all women, daughters, men, husbands and even elders in the church. This isn't one of those "married with children ladies' class topics". This is for everybody. See Galatians 2:20 and Colossians 3.
Verse 23-24 reads: "Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance It is the Lord Christ whom you serve." And the whole chapter shows how we can as Christians in general show love and trust for one another, with a lesson for wives by example mentioned in the listing.
May I do much better with watching my tongue, that it does good and not evil, to my husband and children, my father and brothers in Christ, and to those to whom I am supposed to be shining the Light from above, so that they can see Him in me.
Photo above from ScotsIndependent.org - click here and scroll down to read a lovely poem in and old fashioned style about a young woman who married a beggar who turns out to be a knight.
but in rising every time we fall."
“He who began a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:6)
Pressing on toward the goal:
"An excellent wife who can find?
She is far more precious than jewels."
Nice that it doesn't say "the completely perfect woman", isn't it? Sometimes I have to remember (not that it's OK to be in the imperfect shape I'm in so I don't have to do anything different, but), that it's OK to be imperfect, because my husband, my family, and my friends can see my humility and growth and dependence on God, and not some sort of put-on perfection or superiority that I don't have. I want to be like Ruth: "All the people of my town know that you are a virtuous woman" (3:11). But more importantly, I want to be like what God has made me to be. Even if I can't do it exactly right all the time, the Bible says we can all be "virtuous", or "excellent". And if the Bible tells me so, well then...
... for the righteous falls seven times and rises again...
Rejoice not over me, O my enemy;
when I fall, I shall rise;
when I sit in darkness,
the LORD will be a light to me.
Praying, having devotions with the children, de-cluttering, meal planning
14 October 2008
It is not for kings, O Lemuel,
It is not for kings to drink wine,
Or for rulers to desire strong drink,
For they will drink and forget what is decreed,
And pervert the rights of all the afflicted.
- Proverb 31:4-5
Didn't think I meant all of Proverbs 31, didja?
"Older men are to be sober-minded [or temperate], dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. Likewise, older women, to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, and not slaves to much wine" (Titus 2: 2-3).
The NIV says "not addicted to much wine."
I don't drink alcoholic drinks. I can't even stand the smell of fermented beverages. Here's the thing: All Scripture is inspired. We know that every word of it is necessary and is "profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness" (2 Timothy 3:16, KJV).
How does this apply to me, a Christian woman studying Proverb 31?
I think that "slaves to much wine" applies to more than drinking habits. I "interpret" this as a physical thing with a spiritual meaning, concerning indulgence and temptations of the flesh. I can't make any new laws that are not found anywhere in Scripture regarding this. I'm only trying to look at this lesson from the inspired writer whose written words were passed on and saved for my learning. I don't think this is only a checklist that I can check off, saying "oh, I'm not a drunkard. I must be wonderful." I think there's always more to learn.
First of all, the direct, physical lesson. Doesn't it hurt your physical body, which God gave you to care for and honour Him with? Whether it's wine or something else (food, sugar, caffiene, over the counter stuff) - overindulgence hurts physically. But we know that. Best not to "look at wine when it sparkles in the cup". (Proverbs 23:31-32)
But also: don't be controlled against your will by something external. "Such were some of you; but you were washed...". "Don’t get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery [wild living, excess, riot, luxury]. But instead be filled with the Holy Spirit" (Ephesians 5:18) "All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything. " (1 Corinthians 6:12).
And consider this:
"But beware lest somehow this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to those who are weak. For if anyone sees you who have knowledge eating in an idol’s temple, will not the conscience of him who is weak be emboldened to eat those things offered to idols? And because of your knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died? But when you thus sin against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never again eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble." (1 Corinthians 8:9-13)I think that we are intelligently blessed by God enough to be able to apply "eating things devoted to idols" to our lives today.
Finally, a quote:
- ROH Radio, Nancy Leigh DeMoss
"And as I get older, am I living a life that’s more indulgent, more carefree, more thoughtless? Or am I living a life that is more focused, more intentional, more temperate, more wise about what I’m doing with my time and with my life?
"So I think Paul is saying, first of all here, whether you drink wine or not is not the first issue. The issue is do you have a lifestyle that is temperate, that is disciplined, that is bounded by godly ways of thinking, that is fruitful and productive?"
I personally have a problem with "needing" to check the computer too often, and to have coffee. There are other things, but these are the biggies, for now, in this area. Now, I don't know if the Proverbs 31 lady may have had to use a little caffeine to help her get started before the sun rose, but if she did, I'm sure she did it responsibly, not relying on it to help her through, because she put her reliance in the Lord. May my husband and children see that in my life!
praying, Bible reading, dressing nicely, turning off the computer
13 October 2008
Take a 31-day challenge with me and to read the 31 verses of Proverbs 31 every day for the next 31 days.
[Danger: dripping sarcasm ahead, and not one of my friends are being singled out and picked on here:]
"Ack. - Proverbs 31? Sorry - not perfect, not me: I have no husband, no children, wasn't raised in the church, don't have the money or the servants, can't sew, can't cook, don't live in Israel, yada yada yada."
Oh, I'm sorry.
Excuse me, God? Did you hear? You put something in your perfectly saved and written Word that doesn't apply to us today, which we can't even learn anything from.
And, NO, I didn't really mean that.
You know what - I dislike this chapter of Proverbs, too. It has always been some "high ideal that nobody can reach" in my mind for so long, that I've probably forgotten most of the verses I memorized for Bible class when I was younger. This lady makes me tired. She makes me feel inadequate. She makes me feel guilty.
But I'm committed to trying even more to be the woman that God made me to be. I feel confused and discouraged so many times. I argue with my husband. I let my children get away with things that I had determined to never let them get away with, and things which could very well make their future life more difficult. I end a day discouraged because I haven't done everything I wanted to do - or anything I wanted. Sometimes I spend too much time on the computer.
Consider this quote:
"You take time to look through women’s magazines to see what a beautiful woman, a beautiful home, a beautiful marriage looks like. I want to challenge you over this next month to put down those magazines. Put them away. I’m not saying they’re necessarily sinful or wrong; I’m just saying they’re what this world has to offer in terms of a picture of beauty.
"Instead, pick up this picture. Matthew Henry called it a looking glass which every woman ought to look into as she dresses herself. Pick up this picture and examine it. Take time—spend time in it studying it—and then ask yourself, “Where am I getting my picture of what it means to be a woman?” Where are you getting your ideas of womanhood? Who shaped your standard? Was it shaped by the world, or has it been shaped by the Word of God? "
I don't think I'll ever be perfect. I don't think I'll ever "be" the Proverbs 31 woman. But I'm not even going to come close to being a woman that people will look at and see Christ living in me, glorifying God, if I don't spend time in God's Word, and allowing myself to listen and learn and shed all those years of worldliness that I've let take over my thoughts.
And if my words seem a little snotty here, consider this: I'm not perfect, but hopefully, after really listening to and spending more time with God in this matter, reverently and devotedly, I'll be able to convey my thoughts more gently, more helpfully, and more Godly.
“Why did God make women? What is His purpose for us? How is it different from His purpose for creating men?” Now, there are some purposes that are similar or the same, but there are some purposes that are unique and distinctive.
Why did God create the man first, and then the woman? What does it mean for man to provide a spiritual covering and protection for a wife, and for a woman to be a responder to male initiative? Why is this a biblical way of thinking—in a culture that thinks you’ve got two heads if you talk that way, in a culture where it’s very politically incorrect to see any but the obvious physiological differences between men and women?
Why are there differences? And why are they more significant than the physiological differences? What does that mean for a woman in dating, in courtship? What does it mean for a single woman who wants to be married? What is her role? What is her responsibility? Does she go looking for a husband? How does she respond, when she has a husband, to his leadership?
What does it mean to be the woman 1 Peter 3 talks about who has a submissive spirit—who has a gentle and a quiet spirit? Does that mean she never talks? Well, it doesn’t. But what does it mean? Does it mean she doesn’t have an outgoing personality? Well, it doesn’t mean that. But what does it mean? What does it look like for women to reflect the image of God in ways that are distinctively feminine for us as women—and for women to be women in the body of Christ?"
above questions quoted from Nancy Leigh DeMoss
Join the challenge, read the Bible, pray daily and always
12 October 2008
The point being brought out in all of these lessons is that part of The Doctrine that we are all missing as that of living out the teachings, traditions, commandments of Christ in our day to day lives; specifically here, us women. We aren't men. God designed from the beginning that we were to be different. And not just biologically. I know I bought into the lie. I remember smiling at the Virginia Slims ads: "You've come a long way, Baby" (from the days when we women were slaves). Thing is, we weren't slaves. We were made to be content in our role as the Church incarnate. Many women were and still are, and I dare say, even those who are not trying to follow God's written laws, or those who are following them misguidedly, or who are following laws not written by God but who believe that they are. His law is written in our hearts, and in our consciences, and we rebel against our nature and mess things up for ourselves and those around us, when we think we can do anything men can do AND have babies too. I've been learning this more and more the past few years (and I am just 40 years old now), trying to get my thinking out of all the "stuff" that I was raised up with, skipping out on Home Ec. because it was beneath me. HA! I read and hear so many younger women who think us older women are nuts and old fashioned but not truly Christian, for believing these things; and who become "doormats". Wait a minute. Jesus Christ was a doormat - Jesus washed dirty feet, and was spat on. Right? It's time, says this conference and I think so to, that we Christian ladies - especially if you feel that all those ladies at the conferences don't have the full understanding of Scripture as they should - to get up and truly be different from the world, to teach the younger women to be different, and to show our mothers and aunties who really did mean well but didn't train us correctly, that we are going to be what God made us to be: Truly different from men, in our worship, our teaching, our day to day lives.
Look at Titus 2 again - when the elders and older women are described, it is their manner of life which is focused upon. Don't you long for the kind of "Church of Christ" that we heard about (and maybe some of you lived during) when other Christians knew that if a Bible was missing during a trial that they could smilingly suggest that they could "swear on a member of the church of Christ" because they knew and lived the Word so well?
Living the doctrine of Christ. It's more than a check list. It's more than a "skirts touch knees and two fingers below the collar bone" form of modesty. It's more than 2 times a week putting up with other people "at church", and blogging on an all black and white blogspace, or avoiding blogs at all. It's more than knowing the Greek and Hebrew and having the biggest library. It's more than reading out of a lesson book for your turn at teaching the class. It's doing more than making a casserole, or signing up to host the visiting preacher for lunch.
It's living it with your whole life and your whole heart - that's true doctrine: something which transforms and makes you come out from among them and be separate. Not just another building on Church Street. Not just a great social group where no one uses bad language and watches clean movies together. But if that's all there is - a checklist - then how are we more righteous than those Pharisees? What makes us different, and therefore a light on a hill, or on a lampstand?
If we say we don't need those outside denominational preachers and teachers or videos or books or Christian counselors in order to truly live the blessed yet difficult temporary life that Christ has called us to, because He did give us the saved written Word, then let's get out there and live it.
But if you're interested, here's the page where you can listen for free to the talks given at that conference I mentioned: True Woman '08. I listened to Piper's talk this morning. If you feel I'm falling off track and need to be pulled back - PLEASE let me know.
08 October 2008
I present you with merely the Truth. The One Who Cares. The Strength and Shield. The Comforter. The Sacrifice and One Who Took Your Place. May you notice that This One does indeed abide with you. Pray, beseech, fall on your knees, cry, lean, kneel and be truly humbled. And you will be lifted up, comforted, healed and made whole.
Hayley Westenra singing Abide With Me at Rugby School
ABIDE WITH ME
“They urged Him strongly, ‘Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.’” Luke 24:29
Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;
The darkness deepens; Lord with me abide.
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O abide with me.
Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day;
Earth’s joys grow dim; its glories pass away;
Change and decay in all around I see;
O Thou who changest not, abide with me.
Not a brief glance I beg, a passing word;
But as Thou dwell’st with Thy disciples, Lord,
Familiar, condescending, patient, free.
Come not to sojourn, but abide with me.
Come not in terrors, as the King of kings,
But kind and good, with healing in Thy wings,
Tears for all woes, a heart for every plea—
Come, Friend of sinners, and thus bide with me.
Thou on my head in early youth didst smile;
And, though rebellious and perverse meanwhile,
Thou hast not left me, oft as I left Thee,
On to the close, O Lord, abide with me.
I need Thy presence every passing hour.
What but Thy grace can foil the tempter’s power?
Who, like Thyself, my guide and stay can be?
Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me.
I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless;
Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness.
Where is death’s sting? Where, grave, thy victory?
I triumph still, if Thou abide with me.
Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes;
Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies.
Heaven’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee;
In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.
Words: Henry F. Lyte, 1847.
Music: Eventide, William H. Monk, 1861. Mrs. Monk described the setting:
This tune was written at a time of great sorrow—when together we watched, as we did daily, the glories of the setting sun. As the last golden ray faded, he took some paper and penciled that tune which has gone all over the earth.
Lyte was inspired to write this hymn as he was dying of tuberculosis; he finished it the Sunday he gave his farewell sermon in the parish he served so many years. The next day, he left for Italy to regain his health. He didn’t make it, though—he died in Nice, France, three weeks after writing these words. Here is an excerpt from his farewell sermon:
O brethren, I stand here among you today, as alive from the dead, if I may hope to impress it upon you, and induce you to prepare for that solemn hour which must come to all, by a timely acquaintance with the death of Christ.
07 October 2008
"Study: Makeup Contains Chemicals Harmful, Cancerous to Teens", October 01, 2008, FoxNews.com
Link to the study by the Environmental Working Group. Study published September 24, 2008.
Video clip: "Price of Beauty? Toxic chemicals from makeup seeping into blood"
06 October 2008
The following information is from the Revive Our Hearts website:
The True Woman '08 conference is just the beginning! What we're after is a widespread movement of revival in the hearts of Christian women around the world. Here's the good news for those who can't attend the conference:
"LIVE" VIDEO FEED AVAILABLE
If you can't be in Chicago for the conference, no problem. We will bring the event to you via a "LIVE" video and audio feed.* Put the date on your calendar now, and invite your friends to enjoy the experience with you!
HERE'S HOW YOU CAN TAKE PART
Sign up below and stay tuned for further information on how to watch this "LIVE" video feed. When you sign up, you will get exclusive True Woman resource discounts and a 40-day True Woman conference prayer guide. You're obviously interested in being a true woman—just sign up so we can keep you posted.
You'll also want to sign up to receive blog updates via email or RSS to join conversations with Christian women around the world.
We want you to be a part of this global movement of true women . . .
- Embracing God's created design and mission for your life
- Reflecting the beauty and heart of Christ to your world
- Intentionally passing the baton of Truth to the next generation
- Praying earnestly for an outpouring of God's Spirit in your family, church, and world
Thanks for joining our community!
The preceding announcement is from the Revive Our Hearts website.
30 August 2008
Nancy Leigh DeMoss: A married couple was telling me about ballroom dancing lessons they’d been taking.
“In order for the dance not to be a total collision, the man has got to lead, and the woman has got to follow. He has to be thinking at least one step ahead, and she has to be tuned in, flexible, and really responsive to the lead.”
I think that’s a picture of biblical manhood and true womanhood. It’s not a rigid set of rules. It’s more like a dance as a husband and wife navigate life together. They create a beautiful work of art as he initiates and she responds.
They both use the gifts God has given them, filled with His Spirit, with Christ at the head and Christ at the center. That’s what marriage was intended to be.
Have you been stepping on your husband’s toes? Ask God to help your marriage reflect His glory by empowering your husband to lead and giving you grace to follow.
29 August 2008
I listen to this online radio program from time to time, and have come across some good topics for Christian families. This past week on the broadcast, "Ginger Plowman, . . . author of the book Don't Make Me Count to Three, talks with Dennis Rainey [the show's host] about a parent's sometimes daunting task of disciplining children with love."
Click here for the series for listening and transcripts :
* Disciplining With Love (Day 1 of 5)
* Scolding--An Angry Response to Misbehavior (Day 2 of 5)
* Dealing with Whining, Tattling, and Sibling Rivalry (Day 3 of 5)
* Avoiding Traps of Ineffective Discipline (Day 4 of 5)
* No More Whining! (Day 5 of 5)
There is no non-Biblical or "sectarian" doctrine taught in this series of discussions. This is more like sitting around the table talking with other Christians about how to live according to God's will, and is not a "sermon" or Bible class situation. It's probably what we should be doing as older men and women with the younger ones among us. And there's some stuff us "older" folks can still be learning, right?
Christian ladies and gentlemen: People would rather see our sermon - how we live with and treat our families - than listen to our stumbling words uttered from a pulpit. And we all learn by observing truth in action. More of us are preachers and teachers than we realize. We'd better be sure we're "proclaiming" the right things in everything we do, as unto the LORD. And thankfully, we were never told in any scripture (that I am aware of) that we have to "wing it" on our own; rather we are to encourage one another, and let your light so shine that those in the dark may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.
Praying for one another . . .
15 August 2008
Author: Joanne Beckley
Aging is a fact of life. But growing old doesn’t mean it’s time to shirk our responsibilities to God and stop the work in His kingdom. In LEARNING TO SING AT MIDNIGHT, author Joanne Beckley talks of this little written about, but important time in a woman’s life. In her study she discusses spiritual strength and wisdom that is gained through life’s experiences. Also discussed are the topics of society and aging, changes and adjustments we face after retirement, plus instruction on how to grow spiritually and the hindrances we will most likely encounter. LEARNING TO SING AT MIDNIGHT shows us that although we must grow older, we should be maturing in Christ. 12 chapters, 76 pages.
11 August 2008
You might think that the "burqini" was a silly idea. Or some of those modest suits that Christian ladies make and sell online (like wholesomewear.com or modest-swimwear.com) too. But these suit styles are also sold and worn by non-Christian and non-religious people, to care for their bodies. Maybe we need to get over our preconceived ideas about what we can bike, walk, work out, garden or swim in.
You might think that this site is "too expensive". Not everyone shops at the Goodwill only, and will find these prices reasonable. If you do - like I do - shop mostly at resale stores, you might not get to buy one of these for a while. I wonder if a really active outdoorsman or woman would consider something like this a good investment, like purchasing a good quality pair of shoes. "You just can't skimp on your health" (grin).
I don't work for these guys and they're not paying me. (If they would just give me some free samples...) Just wanted you all to be aware of what's out there.
They even have swimming skirts. :)
26 July 2008
For Mature Audiences Only
Keith and I have wondered out loud lately, how a word that should be a compliment, “adult,” has come to mean something bad--adult bookstores, adult movies, adult shops. If a person knew no better, and walked into one of those places what would he see that could be described as “mature” the way the scriptures use the word? It reminds me of Isaiah’s warning: Woe unto those who call evil good and good evil; who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put sweet for bitter, and bitter for sweet, 5:20.
I think there should be a new movie rating: AM. It stands for “adolescent mentality.” Any movie that uses such a meager vocabulary that most of the words have only four letters, that has no dramatic, tension building dialogue lasting longer than ninety seconds before throwing in an explosion or gunfight to get the audience’s attention again, and of course, one that attempts to satisfy the prurient interests of the hormonally-explosive adolescent would get my new rating. Then those of us who want to behave like real adults, who have larger vocabularies, who don’t need voyeurism to get our kicks, and who have an attention span longer than a minute or two can actually enjoy real adult entertainment.
The problem with having an adolescent mentality when it comes to entertainment is that it spills over into the rest of our lives. Can I sit still long enough to pray? Make yourself pray at least ten minutes today, by the clock. Can you? You see, once you get past the standard phrases, two minutes at most, you can really open up to your God, and talk to him. If you cannot sit still that long, you may have never really prayed.
Can I follow a rational argument long enough to study the first 11 chapters of Romans, arguably Paul’s greatest thesis? Can I study without being led by the hand, or do I simply rely on someone else to do it for me? Do I have the maturity to honestly examine myself and actually try to do better? Being a Christian may mean fighting some important battles, but the biggest are usually fought inside yourself and against yourself, with quiet implosions, not loud explosions.
When we start out, we are all babes in Christ, but he expects us to grow up eventually. That means some tedious work listening to sermons, attending classes, doing our own Bible study. Adults understand that not everything can be fun. It means some long, quiet moments with God. It means some painful moments of self-discovery. Are we adult enough to handle it? Our society’s brand of entertainment speaks otherwise, and unfortunately, society usually winds up worming its way into the body of Christ.
When Paul told the Corinthians to Act like men, in 1 Cor 16:13, he was bringing the epistle to its logical end. While Act like men refers to courage under fire, maybe it can mean something else as well. In chapter three he calls them “babies,” but now perhaps he is also saying, “Act like adults.” Would he say the same thing to us?
But I, brothers, could not speak to you as spiritual men, but as carnal, as babies in Christ. I fed you with milk, not with meat, for you were not able, and even now you are not able, for you are yet carnal…For everyone who partakes of milk is without experience in the word of righteousness, for he is a baby. But solid food is for full-grown men who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern good and evil…Be watchful, stand firm in the faith. Act like men, be strong. 1 Cor 3:1-3; Heb 5:13,14; 1 Cor 16:13
~ Dene Ward
25 July 2008
Are we thinking more of others?
Does children's laughter make us smile?
Are we thinking less of self
while serving others for a while?
Lest we forget - let us always be reminded of what God put us here to be.
Edgar Albert Guest (1881-1959)
A man is at his finest towards the finish of the year;
He is almost what he should be when the Christmas season is here;
Then he's thinking more of others than he's thought the months before,
And the laughter of his children is a joy worth toiling for.
He is less a selfish creature than at any other time;
When the Christmas spirit rules him he comes close to the sublime.
When it's Christmas man is bigger and is better in his part;
He is keener for the service that is prompted by the heart.
All the petty thoughts and narrow seem to vanish for awhile
And the true reward he's seeking is the glory of a smile.
Then for others he is toiling and somehow it seems to me
That at Christmas he is almost what God wanted him to be.
If I had to paint a picture of a man I think I'd wait
Till he'd fought his selfish battles and had put aside his hate.
I'd not catch him at his labors when his thoughts are all of self,
On the long days and the dreary when he's striving for himself.
I'd not take him when he's sneering, when he's scornful or depressed,
But I'd look for him at Christmas when he's shining at his best.
Man is ever in a struggle and he's oft misunderstood;
There are days the worst that's in him is the master of the good,
But at Christmas kindness rules him and he puts himself aside
And his petty hates are vanquished and his heart is opened wide.
Oh, I don't know how to say it, but somehow it seems to me
That at Christmas man is almost what God sent him here to be.
21 June 2008
14 June 2008
Manhood: Let the Truth be Told
series from "Family Life Today" - also see this website for other information on Biblical (i.e. "old-fashioned") men, women and families
My Man, My Protector 6/13/2008 (Day 3 of 3)
Mentoring the Next Generation 6/12/2008 (Day 2 of 3)
Exposing the Truth About Pornography 6/11/2008 (Day 1 of 3)
See also my blog entry from last Father's Day.
07 June 2008
Oh, I must be away - so much to do!
(image from Addison Galleries)
The Blue Bowl
All day long I did the little things,
The little things that do not show;
I brought the kindling for the fire,
I set the candles in a row,
I filled a bowl with marigolds—
The shallow bowl you love the best—
And made the house a pleasant place
Where weariness may take its rest.
The hours sped on, my eager feet
Could not keep pace with my desire.
So much to do! So little time!
I could not let my body tire.
Yet when the coming of the night
Blotted the garden from my sight,
And on the narrow graveled walks
Between the guarding flower stalks
I heard your step, I was not through
With services I meant for you.
You came into the quiet room
That glowed enchanted with the bloom
Of yellow flame. I saw your face;
Illumined by the firelit space,
Slowly grow still and comforted—
“It’s good to be at home,” you said.
~ Blanch Bane Kuder
(found at Ladies Against Feminism - please also find time to read the article at this link)
The LORD God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him."
(is not the writer of Genesis is the master of understatement?)
04 June 2008
A lady is known by so many things in her life. Not merely white gloves and high tea - if known by this at all! Consider the following motherly poem:
You tell on yourself by the friends you seek,
By the very manner in which you speak,
By the way you employ your leisure time,
By the use you make of dollar and dime.
You tell what you are by the things you wear,
By the spirit in which you burdens bear,
By the kind of things at which you laugh,
By the records you play on the phonograph.
You tell what you are by the way you walk,
By the things of which you delight to talk,
By the manner in which you bear defeat,
By so simple a thing as how you eat.
By the books you choose from the well-filled shelf:
In these ways and more, you tell on yourself.
--- Author Unknown
Proverb 4:23 instructs:
Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.
What is in a lady's heart, is what is seen in her life. You can neither pretend to be a lady if your heart and mind are filled with unlady-like things, nor hide the fact that you are a daughter of the King of kings if your heart and mind are filled with the knowledge that you indeed are a "princess".
Choose ye this day whom ye will serve... whether your husband, or your boss; your children, or everyone else's children; your self, or your God. Then put your heart into it. People will know what you have chosen, whether you like it or not, for man sees the outward appearance.
Guard your heart, and your footsteps. Walk like a lady.
photo above taken from the book by Kenichi Kawakatsu, "Kimono" of 1936
see also the WikiHow on How to Act Like a Lady
and a devotional article called, "Ladybug, Ladybug," from the CreativeLadiesMinistry
03 June 2008
"Modest and beautiful"
from Canada.com, Friday, May 30, 2008
Re: "A contradiction?" (Letters, May 29).
First, on the basis of absolutely nothing, Ken Shore equates modesty with a desire to be unattractive. It's an untenable link. Just as it's possible to be both modest and attractive (e.g. my wife in a business suit), it's equally possible to be both immodest and unattractive (e.g. me in a Speedo). [emphasis mine, LisaM]
But then from this flimsy perch, Shore leaps to the absurd conclusion that a woman he saw wearing both lipstick and a hijab was forced to wear the latter (but not the former). Surely it's equally possible she was just trying to be like my wife: modest and attractive. Or is Shore suggesting that a woman must be immodest to be attractive?
It's possible Shore possesses an impeccably logical mind, but in this case,it appears to have been impeded by his clear antipathy toward those who don't share his secular principles.
I have not posted to this blog lately, and hope to continue to make available links and thoughts from others to encourage you - and me - to continuing in "old fashioned lady-likeness". Thanks to those of you who have continued to read my blog and the links from here, and have let me know. I am glad to know that this blog has been an encouragement to you on your way.
Because of the number of articles and blog entries that I was coming across concerning the subject of head coverings, from secular and spiritual points of view, I started another blog, at blogspot, called "Those Headcoverings". If you are so inclined, I would appreciate your stopping by to the blog, or the website of the same name that I had put together when doing research for myself concerning this topic of head covering. Leave me a note there or send an email to let me know what you think. Or send a link that you think I might find interesting. Thank you again for your encouragement.
13 May 2008
The bravest battle that ever was fought!
Shall I tell you where and when?
On the maps of the world you will find it not;
'Twas fought by the mothers of men.
Nay not with the cannon of battle-shot,
With a sword or noble pen;
Nay, not with eloquent words or thought
From mouths of wonderful men!
But deep in a walled-up woman's heart --
Of a woman that would not yield,
But bravely, silently bore her part --
Lo, there is the battlefield!
No marshalling troops, no bivouac song,
No banner to gleam and wave;
But oh! those battles, they last so long --
From babyhood to the grave.
Yet, faithful still as a bridge of stars,
She fights in her walled-up town --
Fights on and on in her endless wars,
Then silent, unseen, goes down.
Oh, ye with banners and battle-shot,
And soldiers to shout and praise!
I tell you the kingliest victories fought
Were fought in those silent ways.
O spotless woman in a world of shame,
With splendid and silent scorn,
Go back to God as white as you came --
The kingliest warrior born!
Joaquin Miller (1839-1913)
03 May 2008
From the latest radio series conversation from (click here:) Revive Our Hearts:
Bob Lepine: I’ll never forget a conversation I was having once with two college professors. These professors taught what is a dying discipline on the college campus. They were teaching Home Economics. They were meeting with a group of young college women. They said to these women, “How many of you hope that some day you will be married and that you will be parents, that you’ll be a mom?”
And virtually all of the women raised their hands. That was their hope and their longing. And these college professors said, “How come you’re not taking Home Economics classes?” And one of them said, “Because my dad said, ‘I’m not spending all that money sending you to college just so you can learn how to cook and clean the house.’”
We do seem to live in a culture today that is somewhat confused about what God’s intention for a woman is when it comes to career, when it comes to her role in the home, and it’s one of the issues that young women are having to address, having to confront.
In fact, I remember speaking to a group of teenage girls once, talking to them about their plans for going to college, what they were planning to major in, and what they hoped to be doing five or ten years from now. Virtually all of them gave me career answers to that question, and when I stopped and said, “What about marriage and family? Is that something that you’re interested in?” They said, “Oh yeah.” But their thinking was career not how do I prepare to be a wife and a mom.
This is one of those challenging issues for us in today’s culture.
And, Dannah, as you talk with teenage girls, as you talk with them today, how is this shaping their thinking, and how is it subtly influencing them in a directional way from what God would have for them?
Dannah: Well, I don’t think it’s very subtle. I think it’s pretty direct. What’s frightening to me is we’ve had the issue of young women saying, “I don’t know if I want to submit to my husband when I have a husband; I don’t know if I really want to have a husband.” Within the last five years or so, they are increasingly saying, “I don’t know if I want to have kids, at all, ever. I haven’t seen that be a good thing. I don’t want to be tied to that. I don’t want to be slowed down.”
It’s frightening to me that this isn’t just a cultural pressure anymore, but it’s something within the church.
Bob: So the lie that teenage girls are believing today is that being a mom, being a wife, is not something that has any real value. Is that it?
Nancy: It’s not just what a woman’s role is, but it goes back to this whole thing of our calling and our design as women, and the fact that God made women and men for distinctive, unique purposes to bring Him glory in this world, that’s what it’s all about. It’s not about our fulfillment or our happiness. I think we had stripped from us, in the last two or three generations, the sense of what it even means to be a woman.
Honestly, it wasn’t until I was probably in my early twenties that I started grappling with:
- What did it mean?
- What does it mean for me to be a woman?
- Why did God make me a woman?
- Why is that a good thing?
- How can I glorify God as a woman?
I think I was probably in my early thirties before I was really comfortable with that, and not just comfortable. What God did was so sweet. It’s not just something I said, “Okay, I surrender to this.” There was that, but more than that there was embracing a vision for how my life could distinctively glorify God as a woman and finding joy and freedom and fullness in that.
Please read or listen to the series: (click here:) Revive Our Hearts.
30 April 2008
That's the thought of the article, and a sentence worth thinking about.
How many "old fashioned ladies" are assumed to be oppressed by their husbands or religious leaders? ashamed of their bodies? ignorant and out of touch with reality?
Since modesty goes much deeper into a person's heart than just what they put on, it behooves those who do not understand the concept of modesty to quit judging those who practice modesty of dress and behaviour by their own standards of un- modesty. Would anyone want to be judged a "loose woman", mannish, or femi-nazi by mere appearances, when they were not? Of course, everyone wants to be known for who they really are - appearances shouldn't matter.
But, as scripture says, "Man looks on the outward appearance, but [only] God sees the heart."
22 April 2008
Domestic Felicity quotes her husband:
"I hope you never, ever have to work outside the home. I love the way you care for our home. I love the way you wait for me with a smile when I come back from work. Sure, you have been doing things all day, but you feel a sense of satisfaction because you do it all for us. You aren't exhausted from running around and trying to have it all together. You aren't a slave to another man's schedule. In the evenings, we have plenty of time to sit together and talk, without arguing about whose day was more difficult. I just love it."
Sigh. Domestic Felicity was a good choice of name for this young lady.
Parents and their daughters deserve a standing ovation for fighting back over the supersexualized, skin-revealing fashions that gained traction with the young set in recent years.If that bit about Victoria's Secret doesn't make you smile, at least sigh a bit that the seed has been planted. Maybe it will grow even there. We aren't alone, Gentle Ladies.
Just like the women who inspired the look, including Paris and Britney, sexy is so last season. Mod -- as in modesty -- is increasingly in vogue for young girls.
Modest doesn't mean frumpy. Girls can be fashionable without looking like hoochie mamas in training.
"I think it's kind of gross," said DeAnna, who attends Ruffner Middle School. "Why would you want to go around wearing clothes that show all your underwear?"
Shrinking profits recently forced Victoria's Secret executive Sharen Turney to concede that her company has gotten too sexy. She reviewed her company's Pink line, marketed to younger women and girls, and called for a return to a more sophisticated brand.
Fifteen-year-old Miley Cyrus, better known as Hannah Montana, received kudos for her stylish yet age-appropriate gown at the Academy Awards. And a faith-based group called Pure Fashion is cropping up in cities across America promoting modest fashions.
And the final quote, which I really like:
Apparently, the backlash against sexy is working.
And maybe stores are responding by stocking racks and shelves with more fashions that don't bare all.
The move toward modesty should bring a smile to parents concerned about the sexualization of youngsters. It should satisfy critics who have justifiably complained about the fashion images peddled to young girls. It will remove bare skin from schools that don't need yet another distraction in the classroom.
If girls, indeed, are sugar and spice, the recipe for fashion success should be for a dash of spice -- not the whole container.
08 April 2008
I'm just going to repost this article word for word, from Barbara Bova, of naplesnews.com.
What do hatpins and stiletto heels have in common?
Recently the Boston public transportation system has engaged the services of uncover agents to catch gropers on their trains. Gropers are those slimy perverts who grab women’s breasts and other private parts in public situations that mask their actions.
Crowds. Movie theaters. Elevators.
However, with media attention, it seems that everything gets blown out of proportion these days. Every discomfort is solved with another bureaucratic taxpayer-supported program when there are proactive ways to handle the problem.
Women were once able to figure out how to fend for themselves. They were once a self-sufficient sex. But now that women are equal, they want to be more than equal. That means getting government help for every distraction.
Gropers can be contained. Women just need to use their brains more. Gropers are nothing more than perverts who should and can be stopped by their prey before they attack. That’s where hatpins come in handy. I grew up riding the New York subway system. It was there I learned that a hatpin in the hand is a worthy instrument for defense. Anyone getting too close for comfort found himself pricked and quickly moved away. Perverts don’t pick on women who look fierce. They want the meek and mild who won’t put up a fuss but just look embarrassed and not harassed. The hatpin is a great weapon in any dangerous situation.
Another wonderful method of defense is the stiletto heel. These shoes may be horrible for the back and for long walks but they are remarkable armaments. Once, when my cousin was sitting in a movie theater, the man next to her tried to grope her. She got up from her seat and as she passed him by, she stomped her stiletto heel into his foot. I bet that was the last time he ever groped any woman again. This can also work well in a crowded bus or train. Sneakers, on the other hand, are comfy but can’t ward off a groper.
These days girls or young women (the title of lady has gone out with the word modesty) are inclined to wear clothes that are barely there. Common sense has been exchanged for the political correctness nonsense that says women are free to wear whatever they want. That women have turned to looking like hookers and Lolitas just ignores the nature of men. [emphasis mine, LM]
Nature intended that men impregnate any and all females. That’s why there are harems in the so many cultures. That’s why many Muslim men make their women cover up. They are just admitting that the males in their culture are animals in heat and can’t control their sexual urges. Their solution is not to control their desires but to hide their women so other men won’t be tempted. In a way this makes some sense, but it also makes women prisoners.
Here in the U.S., women are free to show it all. Some apparently think this makes them more attractive. Instead, they have tossed out the mystery and allure females once possessed when they had some modesty. American men are no different from men in other countries. Look at all the men of power and politics who have ruined their lives because they succumbed to their basest desires. A woman doesn’t have to wear a chador to be safe here but those who play enticing games to attract male attention should be ready for some nasty things to happen, especially in a crowded public transport.
Reach Barbara Bova at: email@example.com
03 April 2008
27 March 2008
I came across this series on OnePlace.com, conversations between concerned fathers about the influence of aggressiveness in girls. Text messages, phone calls, emails - girls chasing boys, but beyond what some of us know as simply being "boy crazy". What can a parent do for their sons, to train them up to be able to turn away from girls who are not growing up to be "ladies", even those who are supposed to be religious. This is a Christian based discussion, of the "evangelical" persuasion, but so applicable to all who live in a modern world.
"Aggressive girls will occur in your sons' life."Check out these episodes:
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
A New Phenomenon or An Old Problem?
More and more parents are expressing concern about the number of young women actively pursing their sons. On today's broadcast, family expert Dennis Rainey sheds some light on this new phenomenon and coaches parents on what to do when they see it happening.
Warning: Bad Girls Ahead
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Today on the broadcast, best-selling author and speaker Dennis Rainey talks honestly with parents about protecting their sons from overly aggressive girls.
Equipping Your Sons for Battle
Thursday, March 27, 2008
Would your son know what do to if he was propositioned by a member of the opposite sex? What about a member of the same sex? Today on the broadcast, Dennis Rainey, author of numerous books including Parenting Today's Adolescent and Interviewing Your Daughter's Date, speaks frankly to parents about equipping sons to handle aggressive girls.
Read the Proverbs, chapters 5-7. From chapter 7:
My son, keep my words,
And treasure my commands within you.
Keep my commands and live,
And my law as the apple of your eye.
Bind them on your fingers;
Write them on the tablet of your heart.
Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,”
And call understanding your nearest kin,
That they may keep you from the immoral woman,
From the seductress who flatters with her words.
You may also want to check out these books, for families with children about 7-12 (or so), called "The Princess and the Kiss" and "The Squire and the Scroll", from Revive Our Hearts. We just got them, and they really seem to be a good resource for helping to teach purity.
How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according to Your word. - Psalm 119:9
How Shall The Young Secure Their Hearts? - all verses by Isaac Watts, old music version with midi
24 March 2008
You are what you wear
CARY, N.C. - Imagine a home with a teenage girl where the most contentious argument over clothes involves whether it's OK for the lace on a camisole to peek through the top or bottom of a shirt.
That seems to be the case with 15-year-old Morgan Morrissette, whose mother, Shelley, is the founder and organizer of a local Pure Fashion group, a Catholic-based organization that promotes modesty and purity among teenage girls.
"I think it's modest because it's a camisole with lace on it," Morgan says. "And my dad's like, 'you know what the guys think, they think it's underwear with lace on it.' "
It's a small quibble in these days where fashion seems to find a new body part to expose each season - from bare midriffs to cleavage to the cheeks not on the face.
Pure Fashion is one group of teenage girls moving the other direction. At spring fashion shows by 18 affiliates in the United States and Canada, teens model clothes that abide by guidelines such as "necklines no lower than four fingers below the collar bone" and pants that fit loosely enough that they can be pulled away from the leg.
Groups such as Pure Fashion could be a mere blip on the fashion radar screen, aided by a poor economy that says hemlines go up when life is good and down when the dollar plummets. Or it might be the start of a movement to excise from public memory images of Janet Jackson's nipple or Britney Spears' nether regions.
So, are high-waisted jeans a replacement for the low-rise variety? What do we make of CEO Sharen Turney's statement that Victoria's Secret has become "too sexy" and that the lingerie chain needs to focus on feminine?
"I think what's happening is that we've reached the limit of the 'if you've got it, flaunt it,' philosophy and we're seeing the power of a little mystery and glamour," said Wendy Shalit, author of 1999's "A Return to Modesty: Discovering the Lost Virtue" and 2007's "Girls Gone Mild."
"When exhibitionism becomes the norm, the fact is, it gets boring," Shalit wrote in response to e-mail questions.
Pure Fashion is an outgrowth of Challenge Clubs, groups for girls in Catholic churches. Morrissette's group's membership is about 60 percent Catholic and about 40 percent other Christian religions. But modest clothing has roots in many religions; Shalit, for example, is Jewish.
She says the role of religion has been overstated, citing the "girlcotting" of Abercrombie & Fitch for its T-shirts that read "Who Needs Brains When You Have These?" as an example. The girls "just wanted a different definition of empowerment," she said.
National Pure Fashion director Brenda Sharman, herself a model who has been signed by Elite Model Management in Atlanta, says that while Pure Fashion has guidelines for how to dress, fashion has too many variables for hard and fast rules.
"I think we're trying to remind our kids that certain outfits are appropriate at some times and not appropriate at some times," Sharman said in a telephone interview.
"I think that women need to examine their intentions when they're getting dressed. Getting dressed with the intention to be pure is different than getting dressed with the intention to lure. Out in public, people will get an impression about them, and they need to be aware that their clothing sends a message about them."
For Shalit, that's not even the issue. The real issue, she says, is sexuality at too young an age.
"Lots of girls have really good instincts but the media, peers - and sometimes even parents - can wear them down, all under the guise of empowerment. What I'm trying to do is to present a viable alternative to this pressure, and to let girls know that it's OK to be themselves," she says.
Bold print emphasis mine, LM. This article copied from - Copyright 2008, San Jose Mercury News