Monday, August 19, 2019

Ladies Bible Class: Shine as Lights in the World

Painting by Richard S. Johnson

Today I have chosen paintings of ladies; paintings that have a lot of light in them, because I want to tell you something the ladies discussed in the Ladies Bible Class.  

We always read straight from the Bible rather than having a workbook. We ditched work sheets and workbooks and study books years ago for many reasons, and have had a good result by sifting through the scriptures verse by verse. We read a chapter each time we meet and each person tries to make an observation about what was read. 

Painting by Carolyn Troy

This time we were reading Philippians 2:14-16 and discovered something that we really needed.

If you grew up hearing people tell you that "the world is going to Hell in a hand-basket" you will know why we thought this passage was so profound.

We had  been previously discussing how to handle the gloom and doom and depressing talk of even religious people; those who should be expressing hope and optimism. When we came upon these verses one of the ladies mentioned that it was an anecdote to defeat, and  I thought you would like to have a look at it. 

At the Cottage Door by William Henry Margetson

Yes, when you have a steady diet of the news media, you will always be made aware of what an ugly, poor, filthy, decaying, unhealthy, dangerous, sinful place the world is.

And it may be true in many parts of the world.  I live out in the country and am not exposed to it.  Most of us in this neck-of-the-woods are homemakers and have our own havens of rest, free from the prying eyes of the world. Our homes have become little independent countries where we create the peace and love we really want in the world.

Lady in an Interior Carl Vilhelm Holsøe [Danish artist, 1863-1935]

We listen to the never ending mantra "We are doomed. Society is lost."

Often people quote this part of that passage:

"... a crooked and perverse generation..."

but never read the very next sentence in the passage, which has the happy alternative.

People love to be gloomy and morose, talking about how awful things are, but rarely tell you what the uplifting alternative is.

When you ask them what can be done about it, they can't give clear answers. While we are supposed to be an educated society, I find that even among Christians there is sometime a big dose of the false belief of "Fatalism," which is an ancient religious philosophy.

 Philippians 2:14-16 is the opposite of fatalism, and gives us a task that I think is rather exciting and holds all kinds of creative possibilities.

I'll post Philippians 2:14-16 here and let you sift through it and find the answer.

"Do all things without grumbling or disputing,

that you may be blameless and innocent,

children of God without blemish

in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation,

among who you shine as lights in the world,

holding fast to the word of life..."

These words generated a quite a lively discussion that day, so much so that we were still talking about it with great enthusiasm while we took tea after the class.

Someone pointed out the loaded meaning in that last line, "holding fast to the words of life."

Ladies at home have a great opportunity to generate the kind of light this passage mentions, and to teach it to their children.  Living it,  makes the home the best place to be and brings relief from the world's problems.
Sandra Kuck "A Mother's Gentle Touch"


Amy B said...

Brilliant! If we feast on the news garnered from most news sources today, we do get the impression that everything is falling about everywhere at an alarming rate. Yet, if we look no further than our own community, we find good deeds, kind people, and life moving along with nary a but bump now and then. Certainly there are places where it may seem to be falling to pieces, but they are isolated, not the norm. But truly the passage is right, as Christians we shine as lights as we cling to the Word and its hope, being those “lower lights” that point toward our Lighthouse beacon. Thank you for this reminder.

Lydia said...

The response to gloomy reports is to shine as lights by following the word of life.

Feminine Belle said...

Flick the Bic and let the cockroaches run. Got it! ;-)

Are they still around?

I like to think we have solar powered lights charged by the son.

living from glory to glory said...

Great!! Excellent discussion!! We must look to His kindness and provision and realize, yes, bad things happen, but we must not camp there! Doom and gloom will feed the fear and keep you paralyzed and you will not be able to do the good works on keeping your home and loving others!
Hugs, Roxy

Marianne said...

What a lovely and much needed reminder! The Word of God is truth!

Lydia said...

Something that has been mentioned in the past by readers here is that the artists of these fine paintings, painted beauty in spite of all the news reports during their lifetimes. They certainly would have had to had clarity to do that, and not polluted their minds with the bad reports from the news of the day.These entities were at it even at the time of Christ, spreading bad news while He walked the earth.

Laura Jeanne said...

This is a brilliant post dear Lydia, and the paintings you chose are the perfect accompaniment. You surely do have a gift for writing things that inspire others, and I'm so glad that you have chosen to let this gift shine for others and not leave it under a basket. :)

Lydia said...

Sorry I lost all the comments this morning.
Fem. Belle, the creases in table cloths are considered proper. If you remember having dinner with little old ladies they had ironed creases in the linens. All old ettiquette books proclaim this is proper. It would be a chore to iron the huge table cloths and this was a way to press them without having to spread them out. That way they fit okay on the iron board if you folded them and ironed both sides then ironed it into a square.

We aren't bothered by trolls anymore here because they are too busy with the PResident.

Outdoors said...

I remember there was lovely little phrase in one "Anne Shirley" -book. "if you cannot shine like stars, shine like candles." Or something like that. I think it was really sweet.

Linda said...

I am a new subscriber and I just loved this post, thank you for sharing. I even read it out loud to my husband. I agree it's so encouraging to just read through the scriptures and reflect on the verses. Blessings to you ~ Linda

Lydia said...

Linda, thanks for peeking in here and participating. One reason we quit using workbooks was I who am supposed to be conducting the classes, could never find my book but there was always a Bible available. When you think of it, the script and the lesson is already prepared for you. The meaning is often discovered when ladies begin looking closely at the text and discussing it.

Lydia said...

Any good point about looking close to us: we see our neighbors building a house or taking care of their property, doing good things for their children, and we ourselves are sometimes personal recipients of good deeds from others, even strangers. When I gave up television years ago the uneasiness went away , for the gloom and doom kept me feeling uncertain and on edge.