Tuesday, November 29, 2011

What is modesty?

(Note: This is just the beginning of an ongoing conversation I hope to have as I wade through what the Bible says about modesty.)


The word "modest" is only found in the Bible once. Are you surprised? People make such a big deal about it, it's as though it's the number one sin. Maybe even the 11th commandment.

Here is the one occurrence:

"Likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works." (I Timothy 5:9-10)

The word for modesty there is kosmios: well arranged, seemly, modest.

That Greek word is only found one other time in the New Testament, and in that instance, it is talking about men, and it's translated instead "above reproach."

"Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach." (I timothy 3:2)

A simple word study, then, does not shed any light, really, on this touchy topic.

So what is modesty?

I do believe that the Bible contains everything we need for life and godliness (II Peter 1:3), but it's going to take a little more digging for me to see for myself God's plan for our wardrobes. I'm up for the challenge. Want to join me?


How do you feel about sheep?

On the way to church, my 8 YO daughter was studying her memory verse.

Isaiah 53:6
We all, like sheep, have gone astray, 
each of us has turned to his own way; 
and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

After a few moments, she said, "I think this is a really funny verse."

Of course I asked her why. I didn't see the humor in it. In fact, it's pretty serious.

"Because," she explained, "it says that everyone likes sheep, but I don't think I like sheep."

You can imagine the laughter from my husband and I as we explained the importance of the commas in that verse!

Have you ever read a Bible passage and done a double-take? This morning I read:

"Those who were musicians, heads of Levite families, stayed in the rooms of the temple and were exempt from other duties because they were responsible for the work day and night." 
I Chronicles 9:32

It brought back memories of my grandpa at our family reunions. He and the other older men would always be crooning out the lovely parts on an old song. My favorite story is when we found them in the bathroom -- because the acoustics were better! I wish people sang all the time like that now.

The Matthew Henry Commentary says that the older men sang all the time, symbolizing the praise that goes on at the throne of God day and night, always singing, "Holy, holy, holy!"

So maybe in eternity singing will be back in style. In fact, I can picture my grandpa now, standing before the throne, singing the harmony to Amazing Grace. It will be fun when we join him, praising the true lamb of God who took the iniquity of us all.

So if Jesus is the lamb of God, and knowing that one day we all will bow, I suppose it is true that we all do indeed like sheep.


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Because you prayed

My heart is full. I read II Kings 18-20 this morning, the life of Hezekiah, a man who was praised above all others. "There was no one like him among all the kings of Judah, either before him or after him." Before or after? Really? Even David?

Read what it says about him:

 5 Hezekiah trusted in the LORD, the God of Israel. 
There was no one like him among all the kings of Judah, either before him or after him.  
6 He held fast to the LORD and did not stop following him; 
he kept the commands the LORD had given Moses.  
7 And the LORD was with him; 
he was successful in whatever he undertook. (Chapter 18)

I looked up the word "held fast." The NASB uses the word "clung." It also means "abide." It reminded me of what Jesus said in John 15:4, "Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me."

Hezekiah's life was marked by prayer and trust in God. When he received word that an army was about to attack, he prayed. When he was told he was about to die, he prayed, and God gave him fifteen more years of life.

Oh, to have that be my first response!

The phrase that made me look twice was God's response to his prayer.

"Because you have prayed to Me about Sennacherib king of Assyria, I have heard you."

Because you have prayed.

I was recently challenged, "What if God only gave you today what you prayed for?"

Because you have prayed.

That's enough to chew on for the day, don't you think?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Wow, God!

Three stooges. Three muskateers. Three amigos. Three Blind Mice. Many things come in groups of three.

It's true for my life as well, as three separate areas are currently pointing in the same direction, leading me to declare, "Wow, God!"

1.) I & II Kings

In reading through I & II Kings, I see that over and over, God promises to do something great, people doubt, and He does it above and beyond all they'd asked or thought was even possible. (And an important note: Those who doubted usually met with a hard end! Just read II Kings 6 and 7.)

In these books, laws of physics are defied, nations are rerouted, and even bears are sent to do His will! It leads me to ask, "Is anything impossible with God?" And of course the resounding answer that shouts loudly from these pages is, "No!"  I am consistently inspired to say, "Wow, God! You are amazing!"

2.) True Woman

I attended the True Woman conference this weekend here in Indianapolis. I came away with pages of notes, but there was one single lesson that settled on my heart for me to grasp and take a hold of:

I need to pray.

Oh, I pray. I pray for my kids. I pray for my day. I pray through my quiet time and for my own issues of sanctification. I pray before meals and I pray here and there. All of this is good!

But it was more: my prayers need to be less self-focused, and I was inspired to be an intercessor for others and God's work here and around the world.

I was also encouraged to not rely on my natural giftedness but on the super natural power of God. I should be praying that God would never let me get to the place where I can do it without Him. I should be asking for a ministry that can only be explained by God, rather than relying on tools, resources, and programs. Then I can step back, look at the work He's accomplished, and say, "Wow, God!"

3.) One Cry.

Have you heard about One Cry? I was exposed to it at the conference this weekend. The message: A call for Spiritual Revival through prayer. 

The aim? To gather 50,000 prayer warriors to band together, seeking the face of God for revival.

Their goals?
  • to engage in earnest, intercessory prayer for revival
  • to walk in brokenness, humbly repenting of every sin God reveals to us
  • to seek the manifest presence of God, believing that a revived church will advance the gospel of Christ throughout the world
  • to unite with others who share this revival vision 
"If my people, who are called by my name, 
will humble themselves and pray and seek my face 
and turn from their wicked ways, 
then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin 
and will heal their land." II Chronicles 7:14

I asked myself: Why wouldn't I get involved in something like this? Why wouldn't I sign up and tell my friends? What do I make more important in my life than seeking God's face on behalf of others?

OneCry from Life Action Ministries on Vimeo.


Combine these three elements and you have a recipe for praying in faith! What is this going to look like? My brain wants to immediately go to the details: When I should pray. How I should organize my prayer journal. What tools I need. But I'm trying to avoid letting all of that delay my obedience. I'm just going to pray. Do you want to join me?

We'll then be able to stand back together and say, "Wow, God!"


Thursday, November 3, 2011

Organized Simplicity

On my path to simplification, I just read a great book: Organized Simplicity by Tsh Oxenreider.

Can I just say that this is a must-have on every book shelf? Not only is it very readable, it's practical and inspiring, without being over the top. She has a chapter about finding your family's purpose and then arranging your life around that. At the end of the book, she has simple, natural cleaning recipes.

It reads very quickly. If you have a heart to simplify, this is a guilt-free read that could set you on the right track.

Here's what Tsh says about her book: "Organized Simplicity‘s the name, and yes, it’s about getting organized and simplifying things. But really, it’s about being intentional. Intentional living — making your life on purpose – is what revs my juices, what gets me up in the morning."

What does that look like for our family? It means making space for art supplies and drawing paper, since that is something the kids and I all love to do. It means having a few more board games than the average family. It also means not feeling like we have to fill our lives around sporting events and extra curricular activities out of social pressure. It means saying no to evening activities so we can have dinner as a family or impulsively invite friends over.

Simple means something different for everyone. What does it look like for your family?