Wednesday, August 30, 2006
(Webster's New World Dictionary, Senior Edition)
In today's society, this word and its meaning is generally looked on with disdain and contempt. Modesty is a symbol of a by-gone era and has now become extinct. But now, more than ever, we need to display more modesty and less of our body.
Camping in a state park, my family was informed that we were not allowed to swim in a river with "street clothes." When we went to the office to inquire why, the ranger told us that there was no possible way we could swim safely with long pants (on the boys) and a long skirt (that was me). Now, trust me, I have been swimming in a long skirt and a T-shirt for as long as I can remember, and I'm still here, aren't I? So, contrary to popular belief, you DO NOT have to wear those few pieces of strings, they call bikinis or those "modest" one-piece bathing suits. You CAN wear normal, every-day clothing.
Today, with so many pedifiles, homosexuals, and other ungodly perverts running around out there, do you REALLY want your family running around with no clothes on?? If people would be smart about this sort of thing, we wouldn't have to worry about kids being kidnapped!
America needs to wake up!
In our churches, too, this problem is creeping up. Our pastors preach against ladies wearing tight clothing, but now that's the style-so tight that you can see every bump and wrinkle, and preach against shorts and against pants on women, but, again, there's compromise. Parents put little shorts on their babies and think 'well isn't that cute!' But it's not, how is that conditioning them for when they get older? They grow up wearing shorts and then all of a sudden they aren't allowed wearing them when they're teens? God help our churches!
And then splits in skirts. I don't know how many times our pastor has preached against split skirts, and yet, the slits keep getting higher and higher. I mean, come on, ladies, the back of our legs aren't THAT good that we need to show them off to anyone who cares to look! Varicose veins and cellulite isn't very attractive! COVER IT UP!!!
I don't claim to know all there is to know about modesty, but I know what I've been taught, what I've seen, and the examples I've been given. My parents would have a mental breakdown if I came out of my room looking like half of the girls at the local Wal-Mart! I'd be back in my room faster than you can blink, and trust me, I wouldn't be sitting for a while either!
As Christians, we have a duty to be different from this world. If we are so against nakedness and we, ourselves promote it, the world would laugh in our faces. We must separate.
"Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you," (2 Corinthians 6:17, KJV)
When I was nine, I had just come back from a week at our family camp. I had a bad dream, I was scared, so I went into dad and mom's room and told dad that I wanted to be saved. So I prayed, and I went by that testimony that I was saved. I convinced myself I was saved. "Alright, I prayed this prayer, I go to church, I must be saved now."
But nothing really changed.
I SAID I had changed, but in the back of my mind there was always a "what if?" What if Jesus would come back? What if I died tonight while I sleep? There was always a fear. I would call out to mom or dad and when they would answer I'd say "Oh, nothing, I just wanted to know where you were." I thought they would be raptured up and I would be here left alone. I was miserable.
In 2005, our church's youth group went to a camp in West Virginia for a week. I had been under conviction for a while-my mom and best friend had gotten saved, how could I not be? I sat throught Sunday night, Monday morning, afternoon, and evening, and then Tuesday came. I didn't sleep well Monday night, and when we got to chapel, man, I was a wreck. The conviction was so thick, you could have cut it with a knife.
Before the preaching, there were testimonies. My best friend stood up and said how it was before she got saved and what the Lord did for her, and when she was saying what it was like before the Lord saved her, she was describing exactly how I was feeling! Bro. Tony Jones got up and started preaching about salvation-I'm thinking 'oh, great, just what I need!' And actually, it was.
I didn't get halfway through the service. I felt God tugging, so, I decided to make a bargain with Him. I said, "Lord? If You really want me to get saved..." I didn't get any farther. He tugged again, "OK, Lord, I know I need to be saved, but I don't want to go up there by myself. I'll go get saved if someone else will go up first." See, I tried working out a plan, and the plan didn't work out.
I got so uncomfortable sitting there thinking 'everyone's gonna laugh at me, they're gonna think I'm crazy!' Then I heard God say, "If you don't get saved today, there will never be another chance." And, suddenly, nothing mattered anymore, I didn't care what others thought of me. I ran to the altar, well as best as I could run from the second row, and I tumbled down there and asked the Lord to save my rotten life.
He did. I have never been the same since, I've got a peace in my heart that will never leave, I've got a song in my heart that I can sing whenever I want. The Lord has truly blessed me. So much more than I asked for. Praise God!
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
In our book, we have illustrations that we look at and try to make our pictures look as close to that as possible. That is so the teacher, my mom, will have an easier time of scoring our work. We got done with our work, and wouldn't you know, not one of our pictures looked exactly like the one in the book! And none looked the same as the others' pictures either. My picture didn't look like Scott's, his didn't look like Paul's, they were all different, but they all had a similarity to the example.
I think a lot of times that is how we as Christians are. We have an example to live by-Jesus-but we have an awful hard time being exactly like Him, in fact, we will never be like Him until we get to Glory. We all have lives that look different, the way we speak, witness, the way we act, we are different from everyone else. But there is a common bond that we all share-Jesus Christ, and the world should be able to look at a group of Christians and know that they are different. We shouldn't have to wear something that is supposed to identify us with Him in order for the world to view us as His. We don't have to wear WWJD or a cross necklace, we shouldn't have to proclaim to all we're Christians. The way we conduct ourselves, the way we talk, that should be evidence enough that we're different.
The world too often relies on outward appearances to identify them with a certain thing, like a gang or a club, but a preacher friend of mine, Dr. Rufus Edmisten, used to say, "What's in the well, will come up in the bucket." And what is in the heart will come out. If Christ is in your heart, others will be able to see Him through you.
Can others see a difference in you?
Friday, August 18, 2006
I don't like that sentence, but it's true. He'll be leaving next May for college in Florida, and even though we don't see eye-to-eye on a lot of things, I will miss him.
Scott is a year older than me and miles taller...well, not literally. He'll be graduating and leaving for college in the same month, and we get to drop him off. A friend of ours is also going to that same college, so Scott will have someone he knows there with him, but I'll still miss him. He'll be taking the same classes that I will be taking when I go in two years, but that doesn't help either.
He has lived across the hallway from me for...ever it seems and sometimes I'll go in just to sit on his bed and talk. We'll play darts or read, or something like that in the evenings until mom tells us it's time for bed. I think I will feel that I have lost a friend.
We used to fight all the time when we were little, but now we just disagree on things. We can talk about the college and sports and airplanes and life in general and disagree, but it never gets old talking to him. He is going to be driving soon, he has his permit, but not his license, then he'll get a car.
I think I am trying to convince myself that he's really going to go away.
After sixteen years of seeing him around, it's going to be odd not seeing him every day or every other day. It's going to take some getting used to, setting out four plated instead of five, having an empty bedroom across the hall...all of it will take some getting used to.
I think it is a good thing he is going away, we are getting closer as a family. Dad is trying to teach him how to drive better, mom is helping him get stuff ready for college, and Paul and I are just sitting around, looking on-preparing ourselves to miss him.
We will, I think, miss him a lot.
We walked into the room where we hold the services and I sat at the piano and played. Dad and my brother, Paul, went to gather people for the service and handed out the song books. While playing the hymns, I hit many an off note, and kept on playing. Dad had me sing two solo numbers so I got up and sang one song, then my mind went blank-I couldn't think of a single song. Then I felt the Lord tell me to sing, "In the Garden", so I urged everyone to sing it with me. And we sang.
From the very first note, we were off...off-key, off-beat, and out of synch. There was general confusion as we sang, but everyone sang. Their old voices cracked and wavered as they sang, but they sang all three verses with me, without looking at the hymnals. There was a lady there who can hardly talk, when she does, you can't understand her very well, but when she sang, she sort of moaned the words. And it just thrilled my heart to see all these grandmas and grandpas singing their hearts out, and the rest of the service I was on cloud nine for no apparent reason.
It's been a blessing for me to sing at the nursing homes, even though it does get tiring. But the old timers- they don't mind if you mess up when you play the piano, they don't mind if your voice cracks on a note, and they don't even mind if you forget the words, they are just glad that someone takes the time to visit them. As a preacher once said that it is a practice of pure religion, "Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world." (James 1:27, KJV)
Vibia Perpetua, who, in her early twenties, became a Christian and was sentenced to imprisonment because of her beliefs. She had an infant son who was brought to her in prison by friends. She wrote:
"I suckled my child, who was already weak from want of nourishment. In
my anxiety for him, I spoke to my mother, and comforted my brother and
commended to their care, my son. And I pined excessively because I saw
them pining away because of me. These anxieties I suffered many days;
and I then obtained leave that my child should remain with me in the
prison. Immediately I gained strength and being relieved from my anxiety
about the child, my prison suddenly became to me a palace, so that I
preferred to be there rather than anywhere else."
In reading this, I am reminded of the Apostle Paul's words to the church at Philippi: "Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content." (Philippians 4:11, KJV) It amazes me that, even though Perpetua was imprisoned for her faith and harassed by her family, by being with her son, she found her prison a palace.
It humbles me to think that I, living in an ideal home, with Christian parents and brothers, friends, with opportunities to do things some people will never get the chance to do, find myself discontent sometimes with the life I am living. It seems I break the "Thou shalt not covet..." commandment every time I go to the local Wal-Mart, even though I have everything I need. If Perpetua, being in the darkest time of her life, could be contentjust by being with her son, can't we, as Christians, be content with the things the Lord has given us?
I am earnestly praying for the day when I will be able to truthfully say, "...for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content."
Wednesday, August 16, 2006
Growing up in a Christian environment, I was taught about purity as a young lady. I understood at an early age that 'virginity' is not a dirty word, and even before I got saved, I vowed I would keep it until I got married.
Society would have you believe that premarital sex is OK, they teach and promote it in public schools, they encourage it by the styles of clothing on the racks of stores. But, premarital sex is NOT OK! It is of the devil!
In all of my sixteen years of life, I have never held hands with, kissed, or dated a guy, and my relationship with any boy has NEVER gone past friendship. The world today, views me as a nut, an oddball, because of my beliefs, as they do any Christian individual. And, looking around at today's society, I am proud to be an oddball. I know several girls my age, who have had sexual relationships with their boyfriends, and I see the mess it has left in their lives. They are left with a baby to care for and no way to support it, often relying on family members to raise it.
Godly young ladies today, are being tempted daily to be just like the world-'friends' are urging them to do wrong things just because 'everybody's doing it!' But as temples of the Holy Ghost, we Christians are admonished in the Bible to be set apart from the world. "I beseech ye therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your body a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." (Romans 12:1,2 KJV)