Sunday, February 27, 2005

Faint Not

Galations 6:9 And let us not be weary in well doing, for in due season, we shall reap, if we faint not.

If you are new to homemaking and finding the task sometimes overwhelming, there are several Bible women who would inspire you. These women displayed extraordinary courage in the face of danger: Esther, Deborah, and Abigail. Ignoring the risk to themselves, they went ahead and did the right thing. "If I die, I die," declared Esther. These historical accounts have not been related to you for nothing. These women were courageous, faithful and obedienct to the will of God.

Our own duties at home--those of being organized, productive, and on time, seem minute, compared to the courageous examples of these women of the Bible. Their example makes our problems seem small. If they could summon the strength to do unpleasant jobs, then surely we can tackle the job at hand and get it done.

Church Shopping

Some visitors at church were heard to say they were "church shopping." I've heard this phrase often over the years. I'd like to hear someone say they were "truth shopping" instead.

Another remark I heard was from a member of the church who had been carefully taught the gospel and the purpose of attending worship services, for many years. The person is in their 40's, yet said they wouldn't be able to be there for worship this Sunday because of a ball game they had to attend.

The wife was looking behind him and rolling her eyes. I thought something very wise and spiritual might come from her mouth. I suspected she wanted her husband to attend church with her. Was I ever surprised to hear her say, "Some people just don't know any better than to host a ball game on Sunday!"

Neither one of them came to church because they felt they must attend the ballgame. I'm still reeling from the special twist of reasoning portrayed here. I think I've heard it all now! The excuse should have been "Some people don't know any better than to neglect worship on Sunday." Instead, they seemed to be blaming the ballgame people. That makes about as much sense as blaming the Fish and Wildlife for allowing fishing and hunting on Sundays.

When Grandma was alive, she would say to people who were anticipating being gone fishing on Sunday, "What if you die while you are fishing on a Sunday?" Many of the people who wanted to neglect church, would be there, because of her warnings.

So now, we have a new generation, who, instead of resisting the temptation to do a dozen other things on the Lord's Day, will blame the organizations for holding the event on Sunday, then they will attend the event and say they had no choice.

If a person has obeyed the gospel, they have given their lives to Christ, and owe him their allegience. Yet, many will who will often neglect church, will never miss a ball game. They even get up extra early to attend, often standing in the cold weather in long lines to get into the stadium. Sometimes it rains on them during the game, but they can still sing and chant their ballgame songs, and wave their arms enthusiastically for their team. Some loyalists can quote you names of sports heroes and exact scores of years gone by. I often wonder if they think they are going to ballgame heaven when they die. They know more about the game, and are more faithful to attend, than they know about the scriptures or attend church.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Improving Your Mood

I thought it might be interesting to tell of some mood-lifters that were used in former times, passed on from my great-grandmother's time.

Sometimes when girls felt low or depressed, their mothers would tell them to wash their hair. The movement of the arms and hands, combined with the massage of the scalp, and the smell of the shampoo, would often create a change in mood. After the hair was dry, styling it and putting a ribbon in it made things seem much brighter.

Another thing that they used to lift the mood was lavender grown in their gardens. A lavender wand could be made by a special way of weaving ribbon around several stocks of the flowering plant. This wand was put in drawers of clothing, including handkerchiefs. In the days before paper tissues, ladies liked their handkerchiefs to be scented. Putting a lavender scented hanky to the nose often improved a "blue mood." Both the flowers and leaves were used to make a hot tea. Boiling water was poured over a teaspoon of lavender and allowed to steep a few minutes, and then sipped. It was used to cure depression.

Going for a long walk was another remedy for depression. Freshly picked flowers were a must in curing the blues.

Women of means usually found that buying a new dress or hat cheered them up considerably.

In church circles, women found that getting a basket of good things to give to someone in need, was a sure way to lift the mood.

Hobbies such as paper dolls, scrapbooking, letter writing, and sewing, were also common remedies.

My grandmother said she used to mop the floor and clean house when she was feeling a bit low.

Cleaning house, then dressing up and having a cup of tea in a pretty cup, changes a person's mood considerably.

Music is also a great mood lifter. Even without a radio or a tape player, a person can sing, and even if the singing is not quite note-for-note on tune, the act of singing cheers the heart in a mighty way.

There are certain scents that create a feeling of well being. Even if you dont' drink coffee, the smell of it is said to make people feel good. Cinnamon is another great scent, as well as a freshly peeled orange. Leave the peelings in a bowl for awhile and let them scent the house. Bread baking can make people feel happy and relaxed. You can take a shortcut by buying frozen dough at the grocery store and following the directions on the package. Often it is just a matter of putting it in the oven at the right temperature. Sometimes the bread is already in a tin, prepared for baking.

Colors are also great ways to improve the mood. Red in all forms, including cranberry, wine, burgundy, scarlet, etc. can often make people feel cheerful instantly. Some people are made more happy by other colors, such as pinks, peaches, or blues.

My own solution is usually to think of the pioneer women who settled out west, and endured much loneliness and hardship. I'm sure they had many depressing and lonely times, and much tragedy, yet they loved a bouquet of flowers and some pretty fabric, just like I do. The lives they led give me endless inspiration.

Romans 12:1-2 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.

Some of he things you must transform your mind to are found in Philippians 4:8

The mind needs to be renewed often, because it can become full of many extra things.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Keeping the Light On

In a neighborhood of predominantly working parents (both parents have jobs), one woman tells me that seeing the light on in the house at the end of the street gave her great comfort and encouragement. This represented someone besides herself that stayed at home to manage it, guard it, raise the children, and look after her husband. She especially liked to see the light on evenings when she had to stay up late for something or other. One day, the family at the end of the street sold the house and moved away to be closer to their own parents and help them out. My friend said, "I miss seeing her light on. Although we didn't often visit, it always cheered me up to see that light. The new people both work, and the house rarely has lights on."

You might have read about some of the customs of the Israelites when they settled in the land of Canaan. Because of the problem of thieves at night, little lamps filled with oil were kept lit and put in windowsills of the houses. Anyone coming near would assume that there was someone in the house, and not bother it. This makes the verse from Proverbs 31, "Her lamp does not go out at night" more understandable. Some historians think that women often worked late into the night sewing or working on some kind of industry to sell the next day. Whatever it was, it was considered a mark that someone was on guard at home.

You might not think anyone notices you, if you are at home in an empty neighborhood while everyone leaves the home to go to work for a corporation of some sort. Your influence is there, however. Deep in their hearts, people know it is right for women to stay and guard the home, and if your light was not on, they would notice it. If they did not think that staying home was something they wanted to do, they would still likely feel vastly let down and disappointed if you left your post to do someone else's business. The world knows that women function best at home, and that the home benefits most when the woman is present.

While there are hundreds of people who can fill the positions in offices and other businesses, there is only one person in the world who can rightly fill the position of the wife and mother in the home. You might not know how far your influence is reaching, but just give up your position at home, and you would find out. Someone would surely miss seeing your light on, and with that light, the message it gives out about you and your life.

This illustration can also be translated into the effect of the Christian life on the world. While the neighborhoods may be dark with houses of those who do not follow in The Way, every Christian is a light, in some way, to someone else. Everywhere there is a Christian, is a light turned on. Thus in a dark city, the real lights are those of the Christians scattered here and there. If you are practicing the Christian values of marriage, home, and family, in a town where few or no people have a high regard for these things, think of yourself as a light turned on, showing the way to those who are lost.

There is an old song, "Let the Lower Lights Be Burning" which is about Christians being spiritual lighthouses, sending a beam across the waves. It ends with the words, "Some poor fainting, struggling seaman, you may rescue, you may save." The lower lights of a lighthouse are the ones that beam across the water to those who have lost their way at sea. (see the words here http://members.warpnet.net/karin/images/zlower.html)


Phi 2:15 That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;

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