Thursday, March 28, 2013

Be Ye Covered




(Please read this note with care. Patiently absorb the words, reflect on them, & honestly examine your motives.) 
 Dear sisters,
Be not ashamed of Christ & His Words in the midst of this adulterous & sinful generation. (Mark 8:38  Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels. )
The LORD God has given to woman a covering of glory. ( 1 Corinthians 11:15  But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.)
 As a symbol of our subjection to Him as our Lord, & man as our head, He requires that glory to be veiled. (1 Corinthians 11:3 “But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.” 1 Corinthians 11:5  “But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven.”
But many of us have been tossed to & fro by the snickering’s of this World. “Come & make yourself bare unto us oh, virgin daughter of New Jerusalem; for we delight to see thy glory.” says, the World. “For why would God make a beautiful thing to be hidden; show yourself to us that we may fill you with flattery & obscure the Truth in your heart...
 (1 Peter 3:4  But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.)
  (Proverbs_7:5  That they may keep thee from the strange woman, from the stranger which flattereth with her words.)
 (...the World continues to say...)  Why should you humiliate yourself by covering your glory with rags? Why should you feel ashamed among us when you can surely call yourself a Christian without the reproach of something on your head? Surely you esteem the praise of men more than an invisible God!? ( John 12:43  For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.)  Truly it is better to be as the proud among us, who hold their heads high...
(Isaiah 3:16-17  Moreover the LORD saith, Because the daughters of Zion are haughty, and walk with stretched forth necks and wanton eyes, walking and mincing as they go, and making a tinkling with their feet: Therefore the Lord will smite with a scab the crown of the head of the daughters of Zion, and the LORD will discover their secret parts.)
...& bear no burden of humility.  (Malachi 3:14  Ye have said, It is vain to serve God: and what profit is it that we have kept his ordinance, and that we have walked mournfully before the LORD of hosts?) And what a discomfort & inconvenience  you bear, all to declare Christ is Lord over you! I would surely have you fear to be ashamed, humiliated & scorned in the midst of me, than have you fear disobedience to an invisible God!”—The World
 Proverbs 19:27  Cease, my son, to hear the instruction that causeth to err from the words of knowledge.
Jeremiah_32:39
  And I will give them one heart, and one way, that they may fear me for ever, for the good of them, and of their children after them:
Malachi 2:5  My covenant was with him of life and peace; and I gave them to him for the fear wherewith he feared me, and was afraid before my name.
Malachi 2:6  The law of truth was in his mouth, and iniquity was not found in his lips: he walked with me in peace and equity, and did turn many away from iniquity.
Jeremiah 18:11  Now therefore go to, speak to the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying, Thus saith the LORD; Behold, I frame evil against you, and devise a device against you: return ye now every one from his evil way, and make your ways and your doings good.
Jer 18:12  And they said, There is no hope: but we will walk after our own devices, and we will every one do the imagination of his evil heart.
Jer 18:13  Therefore thus saith the LORD; Ask ye now among the heathen, who hath heard such things: the virgin of Israel hath done a very horrible thing.
--The Bible
  Dear sisters (whose hearts are still tender), do not be as the rebellious among you. Wearing a covering (in sincerity of heart) shows that you esteem the praise of God more than people. Yes, sometimes at first our hearts may not be yielded, but we cover to fit in if others are covering. Let the burden of covering break you of your pride & vain glory. It is truly a joy & liberty to reach that place of total surrender--no longer fearing the reproach of man for obedience to the Word & Spirit of God. Has there ever been a young single woman who has not desired to be attractive? Cover & you will attract those who fear the Lord as well. Cover & you will limit the number of carnal admirers-who love not the ways of God. Cover & you will hinder many temptations of men-you will be blameless.
Do Not cover: and you will be to blame for causing a man to lust upon you-if indeed it is your glory that has attracted his eye. You will bring shame to yourself, & dishonor your Maker. 
1 Corinthians 11:5  But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven.
1 Corinthians 11:6  For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered. Do you only pray in the midst of believers? Or do you pray throughout the day? Do you pray openly or do you pray in secret? 1Corinthians 11:13  Judge in yourselves: is it comely that a woman pray unto God uncovered? 
I'm not saying I fully understand these things dear sisters, but the Holy Women of Old are our example & they covered not just in prayer meetings. Can you imagine Mary (Martha's sister or any of the sister's of Christ's time) walking around uncovered, her hair flowing down, in her new dress thinking she looks pretty? Do you think if she had a camera she'd have her picture taken so she could display it to others, so others could see how pretty she is, (especially pretty without her covering). Do you think she went to sit at Y'shua's feet like this? Did she hope He'd liked her pretty dress & her hair flowing about her?
 Let us look back in time...to the minds of those living not long after Christ's ressurection:
Why do you denude before God what you cover before men? Will you be more modest in public than in the church? Be veiled, virgin, if virgin you are; for you ought to blush. If you are a virgin, shrink from (the gaze of) many eyes. Let no one wonder at your face; let no one perceive your falsehood. Tertullian (A.D. 198) Ante-Nicene Fathers vol.3 pg. 689

 It behooves our virgins to be veiled from the time that they have passed the turning-point of their age: that this observance is exacted by truth, on which no one can impose prescription - no space of times, no influence of persons, no privilege of regions. Tertullian (A.D. 198) Ante-Nicene Fathers vol.4 pg.27 

 Throughout Greece, and certain of its barbaric provinces, the majority of Churches keep their virgins covered. There are places, too, beneath this (African) sky, where this practice obtains; lest any ascribe the custom to Greek or barbarian Gentilehood. But I have proposed (as models) those Churches which were founded by apostles or apostolic men. Tertullian (A.D. 198) Ante-Nicene Fathers vol.4 pg.28
 "If any," he says, "is contentious, we have not such a custom, nor (has) the Church of God." So, too, did the Corinthians themselves understand him. In fact, at this day the Corinthians do veil their virgins. What the apostles taught, their disciples approve. Tertullian (A.D. 198) Ante-Nicene Fathers vol.4 pg.32-33
 And as they veil their head in presence of heathens, let them at all events in the church conceal their virginity, which they do veil outside the church. They fear strangers: let them stand in awe of the brethren too. Tertullian (A.D. 198) Ante-Nicene Fathers vol.4 pg.35
Think not that it is Tertullians word that is esteemed in these quotes, so much as it is that he bares witness to historical fact. By his words we have proof of how the Women of Old carried themselves-young & old. The pride of our heart would like to cling to the excuse that it was only something required in Church during prayer. Notice: "they veil their head in presence of heathens, ...they do veil outside the church." Squash that pride with a covering, believe me the Victory is sweet! Fear not the snickering & disapproving looks the people of this world give you. Be glad that you are set apart with this symbol of subjection on your head-and let it remind you to be truly subject in heart to the LORD who yielded to Crucifixion for your sins-yes, He would have died for you if you were the only sinner on earth (He would have none to perish). Take up your cross gladly dear sisters-die to vain desires.
 If the heart is good, the fruit bears witness.

2Corinthians 6:14-18  Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
  And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?
  And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
  Wherefore
come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,
 And will be a Father unto you, and
ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the -Lord Almighty.

                                                                              ...Lord help me be a faithful example...


Monday, March 25, 2013

How Shall We Be Clothed?



I wrote the following paper some years ago, due to the burden in my heart for the human race; particularly females. My choice of words was selected for the average woman you pass by on the streets. My desire=to shine a light. If you do not already discern the Truth written here I hope you will take time to honestly examine your life through deep thought, prayer & consideration. May you be inspired to surrender to the LORD who is Holy.


                                                                      
First I want to give you some back ground of who I am. I am a woman who took pleasure in shopping for various styles of clothing & delighted to shock people with all manner of revealing & decorative styles. I would often dress according to my mood; with little concern for the effect it had on others. In high school (early 90’s) a classmate was shocked & offended that I chose to wear a purple bra under a white slightly transparent blouse. Many of my choices of attire were uncommon in my time/place. It was uncommon to see girls wearing low-cut jeans & short shirts revealing their bellies (this is a common sight today). Now we are all acquainted with the sight. Only now it is not just bellies (that are a common sight) but, (I will be crass with my word choice to make a point) butts & boobs!

I was raised with three brothers and I loved trying to impress & allure their friends with my revealing attire. [But one thing I noticed over time was the men I tried to impress the most seemed to take offense, or a lack of interest in my so called “sexy” choice of clothes]. I knew a man that seemed to take pleasure in looking at magazines of nude & semi-nude women. One day I thought my new skimpy bikini would really impress him. To my surprise as I sat in the sand by him he turned to me (in the company of others) & in a disapproving way said (something like) “You look like you are in your underwear.” Of course I had to hide the wounding of my ego to bear that blow.

Other unpleasant experiences arose when men that I did not want to attract would look at me & say, “Hey Baby!” comments & other rude gestures. So on days that it was “convenient” & I did not want to attract those types, I dressed like a boy. Which again, was an uncommon sight to see a girl trying to appear as a boy. Yet, another problem arose when my neighbor's husband was allured by my manner of dress. This was not the desired intent; it made me feel uncomfortable, but what could I do? The sport of putting on apparel was exciting to me!

I basically considered the guys I did
not want to attract as perverts for looking at me; as if the fault was in them. But was it? So, why do we as women take joy in being attractive to others in body? How many of us choose our attire for the day, solely on practicality for the days events? It’s not strange to desire to be beautiful. My first plea can begin here…let us not be in denial that beauty of body is short lived; partly due to the reality of the elements of nature. Not only do we have natural aging warring against us, but the reality of unexpected misfortune. Ask yourself: would life’s joy be forever lost in my heart if (for example: ) You got caught in a fire that disfigured you? Or if you lived in a place of war where women are unexpectedly hit by shrapnel? Or if you were in an unexpected automobile accident that left you…(this may all sound extreme, but the point is physical beauty is vain; temporary for us all). A writer of old put it well saying, “Esteem not thyself for the height of thy stature, nor the beauty of thy person, which may be disfigured & destroyed by a little sickness.” Our joy in this life should not be dependent on our outward beauty when it can be taken from us in a moment. If it is approval of others that affects our choice of dress, seeking acceptance, or a plain old need for being loved; then let’s make sure we’re being chosen/accepted/loved for what is in our hearts & minds & not what’s nice to look upon today. Surely it is not true acceptance, or true love if the choice is being made because of our looks.

So, being a seeker of
TRUE LOVE, I finally found that which I was looking for. And it was not where I wanted it to be. Before I reveal my discovery let me tell you a bit about my present life…For the last 15 years I have chosen to live a simple life of self-denial & service to others. I say this not to put myself above any; but to help you know where I am coming from. --The Grace of God that teaches us to DENY ungodliness helped me make the change in my life. "For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;"
 A love for the Truth has constrained me to desire a life of purity, modest dress, & self-denial.

What exactly is modest dress? (There are various opinions in this subject). This has been a major question asked in recent generations by women who have learned that modest dress helps create a more pleasant and peaceful environment. So how did I go from a wild & careless dresser to a woman concerned about modesty? I hope not to lose your interest by my following words…

My search for TRUE LOVE surprisingly coincided with my search for Truth & purpose in life. Perhaps you have read or heard other people’s search for this, & the conclusion was Jesus? Well, my story may sound similar; but as the current dreaded label is, “closed minded” let us not be so. In seeking Truth I was very opened-minded. I was actually ready to be done with this Jesus character that was imposed on me in my youth. I was ready to know the Creator of Heaven & Earth, whoever & whatever they/it are/is.

One thing I didn’t understand about Jesus was that people who called themselves Christians didn’t seem to find His manner of life totally applicable to them. They just seemed to take parts of it; creating a feud of divisions with the name Christ. If Christ is God then why are not people truly following Him? Or are they? Where are His true followers?

(I truly desire to stick to my original purpose in making a plea to women. A
plea in the sense of a call for aid, support, mercy, an earnest request. I just need your patience as I try to explain the perspective I have. I will cut out some details to try to make the following long story short).

So, one day I woke up & went to take pleasure again in choosing my attire for the day, but this time my heart felt different. I no longer had the desire to put the time & energy into it. (From my youth I had many influences ingraining it in my mind to dress in an attractive way. This is what I believed people expected of me. And perhaps it is what provoked me to add a rebellious twist to “attractive”) I naturally selected something alluring that morning. When I got to the Trade School I was attending, a classmate looked upon me in wonder & asked me what the “Good News” was. I did not have any idea what she was talking about. (She was persuaded that something wonderful had happened to me, and continued to try to urge it out of me.) Meanwhile, another classmate came walking down the hall toward us with a smile & look of joy. They both agreed that I was “absolutely glowing!”. Well, I couldn’t help but want to see for myself so I pushed the bathroom door open & looked in the mirror. They were right. There was an intense glow about me!

After class I went to a farmer’s market, where I saw a table that had a “Free Bibles” sign on it. I really did not want to have to get into words with “Christian” people, but I was interested in reading the Bible for myself. I thought since they were “free’ I should be able to just take one & go. But, to my initial disappointment the woman at the table asked me if the Lord was dealing with me in my life. From my former experience with “Christians” I had preconceived thoughts about her. But she did not fulfill those thoughts. She had a really meek & peaceful manner about her that drew my interest. As I looked upon her to discern what manner of woman she was I realized I was not able to judge that. I could not discern how old she was, she could have been anywhere from 20-40 years old. And her manner of dress did not give me any strong impressions either. But one thing that I did recognize was she was glowing with that same illumination I saw upon myself!

It did not work out to speak much with her at that point, but I took a New Testament & some literature. When I got home I took a great interest in reading the literature. One of the papers was titled (something like)
The Christian Woman’s Manner of Dress. When I read it I was so affected by it that I felt as if shackles fell off my arms & legs, & I took my first breath. Why did it have this affect on me you may wonder? Because it brought light into my darkness & caused me to realize, I had been a captive to lust & vanity. But not only did it point out my bondage, it set me free at the same time by giving me the understanding that I no longer had to be a captive. I did not have to try to allure men with my body. As a matter of fact, it was this very act that was causing unnecessary pain in my life & in the lives of others. I never considered myself to be a “bimbo” or a whorish woman; perhaps because I was not wearing fluffy stuff, or pink, or a bunch of make-up? And I did not think it was right to have sex with just anyone. So I esteemed myself smarter/better than the “bimbo’s”, but really I was not. It did not make a difference that I was not wearing the typical bimbo outfit. I was still wearing things that could stir up a desire in the hearts of others. A desire that can be avoided in some cases.

I am not seeking to change the world with this
plea, but I am seeking to get you as an individual to consider these things. As individuals we can make a big difference, even if we do not get the world to agree with us. We can at least bring greater respect into our lives & the lives of those whose paths we cross. I realize that the damage of sexual allurement has already been done to this world which has bred many a pervert. But that does not justify us as women to keep taking pleasure in the latest styles/alluring styles. If those styles are causing respectable men, as well as perverts to be allured, then we are causing an injustice. People do not seem to realize the gravity, the weighty effect that simply putting on clothes can have on our world. People have become so accepting to the daily sight of: a woman’s cleavage, of a woman’s backside squeezed into jeans, of a woman’s thighs, of a woman’s hips & navel in her low-cut pants & short top.
It was not that long ago that these body parts were only (mainly) seen of men that had wives. Not by your neighbor’s husband, not by your son, not by your father, or uncle, & certainly not by the general public. Some of you may think, what’s the BIG DEAL? Well, the BIG DEAL is, that whether someone’s a pervert or not, those body parts are known to stimulate the mind toward a desire. And it is not just affecting the hearts of the men. In my own experience, I seemed to have provoked another woman just passing me on the sidewalk to sensual excitement due to my appearance. It was an unusual experience; but none the less I affected this person in a way I was not intending to.
Other effects it has on women: is that of envy & competition, jealousy, strife, anorexia, bulimia, despair, etc. Again these are the effects as well as others which our manner of dress can cause.
A friend of mine who has worked for the rape crisis center has told me that in the cases she has dealt with the women were wearing typical jeans & a T-shirt that were attacked. Which some may not consider provoking because it is currently the “norm”. They’re not the “bimbo’s” style. Yet a woman’s figure is very well displayed in the typical t-shirt & jeans. Although what she’s wearing at this point probably has nothing to do with what is about to happen to her. I believe what happens (in some rape cases) is, that men see continual sights of women displaying the parts of their bodies that provoke the natural desire of a man for a woman. They get to a point of feeling so stimulated that they can not contain any longer, & impulse takes over reason. You can be simply crossing paths with one of these men when the urge overcomes him & suddenly you are the victim & perhaps he is too. Not that I would justify a man for raping a woman; more so, when women all over the world are provoking the lust of men what good can we expect to come from this?

Do we really think that we
have a right to show off the beauty we have been given as women? Should we hold to this as “a right” beyond reason?

Dressing modestly is not a manly oppression being forced upon women, or “a right” being taken away from women. Dressing modestly is loving your neighbor as yourself. It does not matter what faith you subscribe to, or if you have any at all. In choosing to dress modestly you will bring greater respect to yourself & those around you. You’ll be more likely to discern who really loves you, & who is just using your body for pleasure, or esteem. In choosing to dress modestly you may be sparing many a man from having perverse & twisted thoughts about you & other women as well. By dressing modestly you may be sparing your best friends “boyfriend” from desiring you over her. By dressing modestly, you may be preventing a married man from committing adultery (as the New Testament teaches, that even for a man to look upon a woman to lust upon her in his heart he is committing adultery).

With men & women working so closely on the job these days it would be wise for women not to force men to have to see their cleavage, or thighs or navel, etc. all day. Some of these men have a wife they spend less time with than you, because they are at work all day with you! Some of these men are lonely & wish they had a woman in their life. They may go home with the images of yourself that you have impressed in their minds all day, through your choice of clothes. Or they may become persistent in wanting to date you. We do not have to win men by these means.

In Christ’s time there was a lunatic, a man out of his mind, possessed by spirits. He was known to be naked. But Christ cast out the demons & it was recorded after this that he was found in his
right mind & clothed. Not only do I see “average” women in public showing what once was considered a “private part” but men also! Are we in our right minds when we make bare our flesh in public? These people I see are not considered crazy it is just the fashion of our time! Am I really expected to accept the fact that an “average” man sitting on a park bench with his bare bottom busting out of his shorts is okay? Or walking down the street with his pants below his “privates” & his backside in his underwear showing? Are we any better than the men who are choosing this style of clothing when we show our bodies? I personally do not want to see a man’s backside when I am walking down the street whether he is attractive or not! Just as well, not all men want to see cleavage, etc. when they are walking down the street.

Believe me or not, you are making yourself an oppressor when you choose to dress immodestly. People are human, the nature of humans is to desire beauty. Not that it is wrong to be beautiful, but when we wear things that emphasize this, or expose those more private beautiful parts we are provoking a desire in others that can have negative consequences. Once again, I am not expecting to change the world. I understand that negative consequences will continue whether or not you choose to start dressing modestly. But I hope you would not use this as an excuse to carelessly dress yourself.

The longer this plea gets I realize I could write a book. Seeing the damage that is done by people’s choices of clothes, stirs a great passion in me to do what I can to help change the perspectives of others. Since I started dressing modestly I have experienced: less hoots & hollers, men respecting me & sharing appreciation for my choice to cover myself, a greater sense of peace within myself, my skin has become softer due to less sun exposure (protection is a major purpose for clothes) and then the affects that I may never realize I’m having in the hearts of those who see my modest appearance (rather than provoking appearance). One time it did work out for me to find out that I was affecting a total stranger without knowing. A woman had been waiting to cross an intersection and beheld our modest attire (as we also waited to cross) & started to think about how vain her “boyfriend” was about his clothes. She saw that being vain about clothes was not a positive thing. For truly there are more important things in this life than putting our time & energy into our outward appearance.

If I may add here a witness to my point…I was on my bike (wearing a full length skirt) waiting for a red light to turn green when I discerned that a man was standing at the corner of the street beholding me. The light turned green & I rode a short distance to my destination. Possibly five minutes had passed & suddenly that same man was standing in front of me. He said (something like), “I would have kicked myself if I did not tell you this…” (I had no idea what he’d say!)
“…you are a vision of loveliness”. He then hasted away! I could hardly finish saying, Praise God! That may have been one of the most beautiful things a man had ever said to me. All the efforts of my past, when I had been seeking my own glory, no man had ever been so kind to speak such encouraging words while expecting nothing in return!

This reminds me of the wisdom brought forth in the New Testament when Peter speaks of women:

“Whose adorning let it not be that outward appearance of plaiting (braiding) the hair, & of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek & quiet spirit, which is not corruptible, which in the sight of God is of a great price.” (1 Peter 3:3-4)

So I
plead with you as a woman, to see the wisdom & peace (prosperity) in this message. It is the purifying of the heart that will do us & those around us more good than wearing whatever we feel like. This world could use more examples of purity, gentleness, sweetness, humility, in women. The present examples are provoking young girls to choose the attire of harlots (which I have actually seen dress less provocatively than business women.) It is no less grieving to see an adult woman exposing her body then to see a child follow the example. It is a grief of mind, a cause of sorrow, in those of us who can honestly see the consequences.

My discovery is that Christ is God in the flesh, & He created me to love & be loved by Him. Learning the depths of this reality has brought great peace & satisfaction in my life. I was seeking love in all the wrong places, by wrong means. I was liberated by this knowledge from the bondage of deceitful lusts & vanities. And I take great comfort in His words when He says:

“Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? And why take ye thought for raiment (clothing)? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothed the field, which today is, & tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall he not clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore, take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? Or What shall we drink? Or Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, & his righteousness, & all these things shall be added unto you.”

So my
plea is: Clothe yourself in righteousness, for your own good, & the good of those whose paths you cross. This is an earnest call to women, for aid, support & mercy.
What we do, say & wear affects others ........ set the example.