Saturday, July 26, 2008

THE HEAD-COVERING, part 1


or...
Veiling
for
Christian
Sisters
I Corinthians 11 Verses 1-16


Brothers and Sisters in Christ, it is time for this topic to be addressed. Although we started out as Christian sisters who met the LORD in every topsy-turvey way one could imagine... we soon found out that we didn't stay that way!


There is order in the church... Scriptural order that must be followed. It is not optional.

Although no-one will hold a gun to your head if you refuse the head-covering, one thing is sure to happen: the continued refusal of the veiling will accomplish a few things in your life that you DON'T want to happen, if you are a serious Christian.


1) It will weaken your prayers.

2) It will allow more struggles to come your way, more wrestling with the flesh, and more struggles with applying Truth and discipline to your own life.

3) It will cloud your discernment and greatly decrease your ability to know HIS+ will for your life.

4) Your witness will be greatly impaired; your Light for CHRIST will be under a bushel, as it were.

5) Not to mention: dishonoring your head ( the husband or father... whoever heads your home) AND CHRIST JESUS... because HE+ gave those words to The Apostle Paul as part of the GOD-breathed Scriptures for us to follow.
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For some, the passage is not clear in 1 Corinthians 11.

Here is why:


The key is how one reads his writings.

To get to the core, the kernel, of his basic instructions to the primitive churches, it is often necessary to set aside for a moment his sometimes elaborate reasonings and explanations. THEN, ONE CAN SEE THE CORE OF HIS INSTRUCTIONS.


The Apostle Paul was a very learned man. Throughout his letters to the primitive churches, the Apostle draws examples and parallels from the Old Covenant and Jewish history.


This is how he teaches. He also draws from the example of natural things, things in nature, which he assumes everyone would know.

Let us momentarily set aside those illustrations, allusions, and examples from the Old Covenant and from nature which the Apostle uses in 1 Cor. 11. Then, we can clearly see his basic instructions to the primitive church.


After we comprehend clearly the import of his directives, we will add the illustrations, etc., back into the reading to understand his reasoning behind his instructions.


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Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.

Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you.

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.

Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered or veiled dishonoreth his head.

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But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered or unveiled dishonoreth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven.

For if the woman be not covered or veiled, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered (veiled).

Judge in yourselves: is it comely that a woman pray unto God uncovered?

But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.

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The remaining the verses in this passage (from 1 to 16), including his examples and reasonings for this instruction, draw from the Old Covenant references and from nature.

Before adding his explanations back into his words, however, let us take a look at what is the gist of his instructions in this adapted reading.

We see here that he is re-establishing both his authority and his reason for writing this epistle to the primitive church.

The Apostle Paul then clearly and plainly states the way it is: If the brothers cover or veil their heads while praying or prophesying, it shows they are dishonoring the authority line which the Apostle just stated as fact.

If the sisters have their heads UNcovered or UNveiled during praying or prophesying, it also dishonors the authority line.

The Apostle goes on to give his directive to the sisters who will not cover or veil their heads: shave the hair off and go bald.

This is rather humorous!

If a sister refused to cover or veil her head and would rather show her head in the assembly, The Apostle says, in essence, “Well then, let her show her bald head instead and see if she is still proud.” Likely, any sister would hasten to cover her head appropriately, due to the shame of being bald-headed! That measure would have dealt effectively with any spirits of worldliness and pride lurking in the assembly.

[Now, this is not as improbable as it may sound. The Apostle had to deal with proud spirits amongst the various factions in that very church, the letter reveals, chapter 4. It is within reason to think that the sisters had been subjected to spirits of pride, also. ]

The Apostle Paul appeals to their sound judgment of propriety when praying to the Living GOD, the Maker of the Heavens and the earth: is it right that a woman pray to GOD uncovered (unveiled)?

Well, he answered this question earlier by teaching them that it WASN’T right to dishonor the authority line, so he assumes they know the correct answer: NO.

The Apostle addresses the issue of disagreement or contention with this set of instructions. His last remarks were in a question form: Is it right that a woman pray unto GOD uncovered ? He plainly says NONE of the primitive churches have such a custom… and that settles the discussion.

The confusion amongst modern readers is that the words: "such a custom" refers to Christian sisters praying uncovered or unveiled. The Apostle said neither we nor any other of GOD’S churches had a custom of sisters praying unveiled.

This is the reasonable understanding of verse 16; otherwise, it makes the Apostle Paul contradict himself from what he stated as facts and directives in the immediate preceding verses! We know that the Apostle Paul was NOT confused, but rather, the western church’s perspective might be in want.

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(To be continued)

Friday, July 18, 2008

GIFTS... VS... DISCIPLESHIP

Gifts... vs... Discipleship

We LIKE GIFTS!

The gifts from GOD are "... without repentance," according to the letter to Romans, 11:29. It says: For the gifts and calling of GOD are without repentance. His+ gifts are blessings for us, helping us through the struggles of life.

His+ GIFTS are freely given, freely dispensed as HE+ sees fit, being the Captain of the Battleground. HE+ equips various ones of us for The Battle... some in one way, some in another... according to what is needed to get the job done His+ way.

Some take the GIFTS as a sign that they are really special, kind of above the rest. I think the GIFTS are given to those who are least, to those who really are humble enough to receive them and humble enough to listen to His+ directives on how to use them. GIFTS are certainly no virtue on our part... but rather on His+ ! That HE+ would entrust us with His+ anointed GIFTS is amazing, in and of itself.

GIFTS come in many ways and for many purposes. I have a special one that helps me; it is what I call the gift of the conviction of sin. (Most wouldn't think of this as a "gift" from GOD, but I do.) No-one can even ENTER the Race without a conviction of sin upon the heart, which should lead to repentance and conversion and salvation. Likewise, no-one can STAY with HIM+ without the correction that this wonderful conviction brings. Woe to that man who turns a deaf ear to the conviction of sin sent upon him... whether he is regenerated or not!

I thank The LORD for giving this gift of His+ grace, called the conviction of sin. Where would we be if we didn't receive His+ conviction when we go astray in our heart? How blessed we are as a people, whom The LORD monitors closely enough to bring such conviction! How blessed, how holy, are those who listen closely enough to Their LORD to receive that conviction!

That goes hand in hand with The GIFT of the HOLY SPIRIT, as in Acts 2:38.

And yet, as splendid as the Gift of the HOLY SPIRIT is... it does NOT take the place of our own discipleship. The Baptism of the HOLY SPIRIT, the Anointing of His+ HOLY SPIRIT, does NOT do the walking in discipleship for us. It can pull us along, to some extent, if we are willing to walk in His+ ways. It can reveal to us what we NEED TO DO in order to walk with HIM+. It can "nudge" us along when we're dragging our feet. And, it can comfort us when we are hurt and sad, encouraging our hearts.

BUT... the HOLY SPIRIT CANNOT AND WILL NOT do "our" part in walking with The LORD. We must simply embrace the cross, embrace discipleship, in order to stay WITH The LORD once we are saved.

Discipleship is how we grow. It changes us from gangling youth into mature Christians.

Discipleship is what we do to return unto HIM+. It is how we pick up our cross and die daily to ourselves. Personal discipleship trains us how to die to ourselves and live unto CHRIST.

Our actual labor is not church attendance, as important as that may be. It is not participating in activities, as wholesome or as demanding as they may be. It is not even using the GIFTS HE+ gives us, as exciting as they are to see in operaton.

Discipleship is our gift to

HIM+.



Saturday, July 12, 2008

BESIDE THE STILL WATERS.... an Email Fellowship







Beside the Still Waters...
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an eMAIL FELLOWSHIP
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The LORD has laid it upon our hearts, here at the Order of the GOOD SHEPHERD+, to open up the Order to an eMail Fellowship.
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This would be a fellowship conducted via email. Our purpose for doing this is to provide others a place to accomplish some things that perhaps would NOT be able to be done ... for various reasons... in their home churches.
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The first purpose would be to provide a structure to develop a personal self-discipline in CHRIST.
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We are not Roman Catholic, but that group has much to teach non-RC's about personal discipleship. For those of us NOT from a Roman Catholic background, a personal discipline in private worship and devotions is a NEW THING! Yet, it is by this method that much growth in CHRIST can occur, if done with a sincere desire to please HIM+.
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Thus, we offer to those who want to participate:
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1) Structure ... Many options are available for individuals from a variety of backgrounds who have many responsibilities and schedules to deal with.
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2) Support... by email... and encouragment to pick up and try again, when the schedule crowds out the worship times. Prayer support is available too, for those life situations that seem overwhelming.
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3) Connection. This is important so that you don't feel "out there in space" somewhere, all by yourself. Others are with you in this... as you "work out your salvation with fear and trembling," as the Scripture says.
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What is required of you is simply this: a willing heart to work towards discipleship and a desire to communicate that with us. In short, let us know who you are and what you are trying to do and what you need to do it with.
You can reach us at : srjudhan@yahoo.com Please title your email : FELLOWSHIP. If not, it may be taken for spam.
Yours, in CHRIST, our Life,
Sister Judith Hannah
Order of the GOOD SHEPHERD+

Friday, July 11, 2008

QUESTIONS and ANSWERS

Questions and Answers...

Question: How do we practice dying daily, putting our flesh upon the Cross?
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Answer: By exercising daily discipline. Like a serious athlete in training for a competion THAT HE IS DETERMINED TO WIN, we discipline our spirits as well as our bodies.
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Question: How do we discipline our SPIRIT ?
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Answer: We correct our spirit by the use of spiritual means. Thus, we use the Word of GOD to correct our wayward hearts. First, we must NOURISH our spirit. This nourishment is even MORE IMPORTANT than our daily food for our bodies. We eat 3 times a day and munch even more. Let us therefore DETERMINE to TAKE THE TIME and figure out a way to nourish our spiritual man.
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Some read the Psalms, 3 per hour, at the top of the hour. Some read 20 Psalms a day. Some read them outloud or learn to memorize them or sing them. Exercises like that bring one's heart into worship and praise. It nourishes the spirit. It cleans the air of the workplace, office, garden, home, or vehicle.
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Some cannot or do not read. So... they purchase Scripture tapes and listen to them as they work.
Whatever it takes, we need to find a way to NOURISH OUR SPIRIT deeply... daily.
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Secondly, we correct our spirit by repenting WHEN WE CROSS THE WORD OF GOD... when we do not do what it says. If The LORD says, "Take no thought for the morrow," then HE+ meant exactly that! We repent each and every time we find ourselves taking those anxious thoughts for tomorrow upon ourselves.
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Thirdly, we replace those thoughts ---EACH AND EVERY TIME--- with Scripture. That is the way we resist the devil... and he will flee from us.
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Let us pray:
LORD JESUS CHRIST, our Savior, help us with our weakness and lack of diligence in following THEE+. Help us to learn to sow to the Spirit daily, looking less to our temporal activities and more to the things which will remain. Grant us this discipline, Gracious LORD, Who+ knoweth our frame and our concerns. We praise THEE+ for Thy+ constant help for us in needs both great and small. We bless THEE+ and thank THEE+ for showing us the Way out of our darkness ... and into Thy+ marvelous light. In Thy+ Holy Name we pray.
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Sister Judith Hannah
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Tuesday, July 8, 2008

WHAT ARE WE LABORING FOR ?


What Are We Laboring for….. ?


LABOR not for the food which perishes, but for that food which endures unto everlasting life, which the SON+ of Man shall give unto you: for him has God the Father sealed.

John 6:26

…..we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain that we can carry nothing out of it!
Having food and clothing, let us be content with that…. godliness with contentment is great gain. 1st Timothy;6:7,8,6.

We are born, we live here a short season, we then depart this life and this sorrow filled world.


How have we spent our time here; those of us who know Christ Jesus as Lord?

Let us labor for that true food which will accompany us into eternal life, by actually following Christ and applying His words to our lives an a daily basis.

For those who do not yet know Christ as both Deliverer from sin and death, and as Lord of their lives and actions; “Today is the day, now is the accepted time”, to enter the Covenant of Salvation.

Don’t wait , we are only here a few days.
Br. Brendon Patrick +
(for Sister Judith today)

In the Name of the FATHER,
And of the SON+,
And of the HOLY SPIRIT.
AMEN.+ + +