Archive for July, 2006

The Dash – A Poem by Linda Ellis

Friday, July 28th, 2006
PS To see The Dash Movie again click here
http://www.thedashmovie.com
 
The Dash
by Linda Ellis
 
 
I read of a man who stood to speak
At the funeral of a friend
 
He referred to the dates on her tombstone
From the beginning to the end
 
He noted that first came her date of her birth
And spoke the following date with tears,
 
But he said what mattered most of all
Was the dash between those years
 
For that dash represents all the time
That she spent alive on earth.
 
And now only those who loved her
Know what that little line is worth.
 
For it matters not how much we own;
The cars, the house, the cash,
 
What matters is how we live and love
And how we spend our dash.
 
So think about this long and hard.
Are there things you’d like to change?
 
For you never know how much time is left,
That can still be rearranged.
 
If we could just slow down enough
To consider what’s true and real
 
And always try to understand
The way other people feel.
 
And be less quick to anger,
And show appreciation more
 
And love the people in our lives
Like we’ve never loved before.
 
If we treat each other with respect,
And more often wear a smile
 
Remembering that this special dash
Might only last a little while.
 
So, when your eulogy is being read
With your life’s actions to rehash
 
Would you be proud of the things they say
About how you spent your dash?
 
© 1996 All Rights Reserved, Linda Ellis

Prosperity and Adversity

Thursday, July 27th, 2006

Ecclesiastes 7:14 In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity consider: God also hath set the one over against the other, to the end that man should find nothing after him.

Commenting on this verse, Matthew Henry says:

2. We must accommodate ourselves to the various dispensations of Providence that respect us, and do the work and duty of the day in its day, v. 14. Observe,
(1.) How the appointments and events of Providence are counterchanged. In this world, at the same time, some are in prosperity, others are in adversity; the same persons at one time are in great prosperity, at another time in great adversity; nay, one event prosperous, and another grievous, may occur to the same person at the same time. Both come from the hand of God; out of his mouth both evil and good proceed (Isa. 14:7), and he has set the one over against the other, so that there is a very short and easy passage between them, and they are a foil to each other. Day and night, summer and winter, are set the one over against the other, that in prosperity we may rejoice as though we rejoiced not, and in adversity may weep as though we wept not, for we may plainly see the one from the other and quickly exchange the one for the other; and it is to the end that man may find nothing after him, that he may not be at any certainty concerning future events or the continuance of the present scene, but may live in a dependence upon Providence and be ready for whatever happens. Or that man may find nothing in the work of God which he can pretend to amend.
(2.) How we must comply with the will of God in events of both kinds. Our religion, in general, must be the same in all conditions, but the particular instances and exercises of it must vary, as our outward condition does, that we may walk after the Lord.
[1.] In a day of prosperity (and it is but a day), we must be joyful, be in good, be doing good, and getting good, maintain a holy cheerfulness, and serve the Lord with gladness of heart in the abundance of all things. “When the world smiles, rejoice in God, and praise him, and let the joy of the Lord be thy strength.’’
[2.] In a day of adversity (and that is but a day too) consider. Times of affliction are proper times for consideration, then God calls to consider (Hag. 1:5), then, if ever, we are disposed to it, and no good will be gotten by the affliction without it. We cannot answer God’s end in afflicting us unless we consider why and wherefore he contends with us. And consideration is necessary also to our comfort and support under our afflictions.

Bible Customs – How People Dressed

Thursday, July 27th, 2006

The following is from a lesson presented at Middletown Bible Church, which I came upon while seeking information about dress customs during Bible times. I found it informative, so here it is:
Dressing

How did people dress in the land of Palestine during Bible times? Did the men wear ties and jackets? Did the women wear dresses and skirts? Did they wear the same kind of shoes that we wear?

Inner Garment

The men and women would wear an inner garment or shirt next to their skin called a tunic. Usually this was without sleeves and reached down to the knees or sometimes all the way to the ankles. Wealthy people would wear tunics which had sleeves and which reached to the ankles.

When Jesus died on the cross, the soldiers cast lots for His tunic (John 19:24). This was the Lord’s inner garment (not a “ROBE” as many think).

Usually the Jews of Christ’s day had at least one change of clothing. A man would be considered poor to have only one garment (see what John the Baptist said in Luke 3:11). In Matthew 10:10 Jesus told His disciples not to take an extra undergarment with them.

Among the poorer people, the tunic was often the only clothing worn in warm weather. Wealthier people might wear the tunic alone inside the house, but they would not wear it without the outer garment outside the house. In the Bible the term “naked” is sometimes used of men who only have their tunic on (see John 21:7). To be dressed in such a scanty manner was thought of as “nakedness.”

The Girdle

The girdle was like a wide belt (about four to six inches wide) which went around the waist. Without this girdle, the tunic would be loose and it would interfere with a person’s ability to walk freely (this is why bathrobes have a strap that must be tied). Sometimes money was kept in a girdle (in a pouch) and sometimes the girdle was used to fasten a man’s sword to his body.

In Bible language, “to be girded” means “to be ready for action.” It means “let nothing keep you back or interfere with your progress as you run the race which is before you” (see Luke 12:35). What do you think the first part of 1 Peter 1:13 means?

The Outer Garment

The outer garment was called a mantle. It was like a large robe. The closest thing we have to it would be an overcoat. This mantle would shelter the person from the wind and the rain and it would also serve as a blanket at night. This is the outer garment or mantle which Elijah had and which became the property of Elisha (see 2 Kings 2:8-13).

Sandals

Most people in Bible times wore something that resembled sandals. They consisted of a sole made either of wood or leather which was fastened to the foot by leather thongs or straps. Peter was told to put his sandals on in Acts 12:8. See also what John the Baptist said in Mark 1:7 (latchet = thongs; shoes = sandals). Because the people wore sandals, their feet got dirty and this is why we read in the Bible about people getting their feet washed (see John 13).

The Difference Between Men and Women

Men and women wore the same kind of clothing, but it differed in detail. They both would wear an inner garment and a girdle and an outer garment, but the dress of the woman was more elaborate and ornamented. However, the women wore longer tunics and larger mantles than the men. Also the women would often wear a veil covering their face.

Even though men and women wore the same kind of clothes, there were differences which made it easy to tell the sexes apart. Even today men and women both wear shirts, but usually the blouse that a woman would wear is quite different than the shirt that a man would wear. In Bible times the garments of a woman were different than the garments of a man. In God’s law we read, “The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment.” (Deut.22:5). It was a shameful thing for a man to dress like a woman or for a woman to dress like a man.

The same ought to be true today. Men should dress like men; women should dress like women; boys should dress like boys; girls should dress like girls. If God has made you a boy (male), then act like one, look like one and BE ONE! If God has made you a girl (female), then act like one, look like one and BE ONE!

Christian Modesty

Wednesday, July 26th, 2006

1Timothy 2:9 In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;

Verse 10 But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works. (Emphasis added.)

The definition for modest in Webster’s Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary is: Observing the proprieties of dress and behavior. Synonyms given are: PURE, DECENT, and CHASTE. CHASTE primarily implies a refraining from acts or even thoughts or desires that are not virginal or not sanctioned by marriage vows; it may imply avoidance of anything that cheapens or debases; PURE differs from CHASTE in implying innocence and absence of temptation rather than control of one’s impulses and actions; MODEST and DECENT apply especially to deportment and dress as outward signs of inward chastity or purity.

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An Awesome Baby Portrait by Amanda

Wednesday, July 26th, 2006

DSC01563cropweb.jpg

Amanda kindly took the time out of her busy schedule to photograph Laura and Darren’s little Diederick, our new grandbaby. Great work, Amanda, and Thank you!

THE EVIL AND DANGER OF SCHISM

Monday, July 24th, 2006

Following is a short excerpt from A Sermon by Thomas Boston preached at Ettrick in the Year 1708

Copyright © 1997 Naphtali Press

How our own church was thus troubled in the time of former Presbytery, is evident from the writings of worthy men of that time, against separation: so we find an Act of the Assembly, 1643, appointing to search for books tending to separation. I cannot but particularly remark an Act of the Assembly, 1641, sess. 10, against impiety and schism, wherein they charge “all ministers and members of this kirk, to endeavor to suppress all impiety, and mocking of religious exercises.” And upon the other part, “That, in the fear of God, they be aware, that under the pretext of religious exercises, otherwise lawful and necessary, they fall not into error, heresy, schism, scandal, self-conceit, and despising of others, pressing above the common calling of Christians, and usurping that which is proper to the pastoral vocation, contempt or disregard of the public means,” etc.

This I take plainly to be meant of what we call fellowship meetings, which have been so much mocked by wicked men on the one hand, and abused on the other hand to schism, etc. But the Assembly, 1647, sess. 19, in their directions for secret and private worship, and mutual edification, for cherishing piety, for maintaining unity, and avoiding schism and division, which are ordinarily bound in with the Confession of Faith, towards the latter end of the book, they discharge these meetings altogether, as you may see in the seventh direction, where they say, “Whatever hath been the fruits and effects of meetings of persons of divers families, in the times of corruption and trouble, yet such meetings of persons of divers families (except in the cases mentioned in the directions), are to be disapproved, as tending to the prejudice of the public ministry, to the rending of the families of particular congregations, and (in progress of time) of the whole kirk.”

I bring not in this to show my own judgment anent these meetings, but to let you see there was a spirit of separation going in these days as well as now: and how the fire of division left not this church till she was cast into the fire of persecution, is too well known. O that it had from that time left us!

What Should You Do When Someone Thinks You’re *Worldly*, Yet You’re Seeking Godliness?

Sunday, July 23rd, 2006

For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same [is] a perfect man, [and] able also to bridle the whole body. – James 3:2

Let not then your good be evil spoken of. – Romans 14:16

Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh! – Matthew 18:7

In this life, while we yet see through a glass darkly (I Corinthians 13:12), it will eventually happen that we are considered worldly by another Christian. For example, we as Christian women may think we are guarding modesty. We are careful of necklines and hemlines, and are careful that clothing is loose enough.  To some brethren, however, women’s clothing must look like it’s from another era, be flowery/lacy or extremely plain. Some brethren do not allow that a woman may wear jeans. The Lord gives the comprehensive requirement that clothing be modest. We are indeed accountable to the Lord to do our utmost to be modest women and to wear modest clothing.

That does not mean that we need to change our style of dress every time someone makes a critical comment. We do however need to take the criticism as an opportunity to reevaluate our standards, measuring ourselves against God’s holy Word. We should also have the mindset of being careful not to give offense to others. We do not want to insist on our own way, without regard to the welfare of others. The bottom line is, we need to love the brethren, and do what is good for the brethren.

For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.

For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.

This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. – Galatians 5:13-16

It may be that the brother is overly scrupulous. If that is the case, we need to love our brother by helping him, in gentleness and meekness, to recognize his error:

And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle uto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will. – II Timothy 2:24-26

The Discipline of the Reformation contrasted with RPNA(General Mtg.) Discipline

Sunday, July 16th, 2006

1. Principal Baillie, writing in 1649, says: “Let excommunication be so seveer in Scotland as is possible, yet the hurt of it is but small: it is so rare an accident, men may live long in Scotland, and all their life never see that censure execute; I have lived in one of the greatest cities of that land and for fourty-seven years even from my birth to this day, that censure to my knowledge or hearing was never execute there in my dayes but twice; first upon one obstinate and very profaine Papist; and nixt on some horrible scandalous praelats.” Review of Bramble’s Faire Warning, p. 64.

This quote is from a footnote to David Hay Fleming’s The Discipline of the Reformation, Part 3, posted on the Naphtali Press website.

It is interesting to consider that excommunication from the Church of Scotland during the Reformation was a rare occurence.

Those of us who are acquainted with the group which calls itself the Reformed Presbytery of North America (General Meeting) know excommunication *from the Visible Church* to be so common that it is likely that more members of that group have been excommunicated (or have supposedly *excommunicated themselves*) than currently remain in the group.

This is a sad and frightening fact.

Welcome to the Family, dear Diederick!

Saturday, July 15th, 2006

oh so happy.jpg

Laura with Diederick

What a happy mommy, and what a sweet baby boy. Isn’t it so cute how D. sucks on his bottom lip? Oh, the sweetness of him!