PROVE ME

swiss landscape lake

In Malachi 3.10, God says,   Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and prove Me now in this,” says the Lord of hosts, “if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such a blessing that there will not be room enough to fill it.”

What a great promise! It relates to giving to God. Our money is not our own; it belongs to God. Have we learnt to give to God? Read Luke 6.38,  “Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”

Again, the Lord Jesus says, in John 7.17: “If anyone’s will is to do God’s will, he will know whether the teaching of mine is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority.” What the Lord is saying here is, Prove me now! If you will DO God’s will, you will know; it will be proved to you. Prove My teaching in your life; whether it is true or not!

The point I’m trying to make is that many of us just read the Bible and keep its words in our head. It is all theory, or doctrine, or head-knowledge in our life. And we think that if we have the right doctrine, it’s enough. Not at all! You can have all the right doctrine (call it ‘sound doctrine’) and you can yet be as ‘dead as a dodo’. I’ve seen enough of the Reformed Calvinist groups (Baptist & Bible Fellowships) in the U.S. to know that what I am saying is right.

We must prove God in our life by our Obedience, by our Surrender. By living a life that is based on the three principles of ‘Holiness, Obedience and Humility’. If we lack these three qualities in our Christian life, we are blind and will presently fall into a ditch. God is a practical God, a real throbbing God. And if you want to experience Him in your life, the pathway is Obedience. Have you surrendered your all on the altar of the living God? We are living in perilous times. The plague Covid19 has spread all around the world. The latest figure is over 10 million cases, and Covid deaths have crossed 500,000. Are you ‘preparing to meet your God’? Amos 4.12.

Your riches hoarded for yourself will soon have no value. Your lands and properties kept for yourself will soon wither and dry up. What are you doing in the matter of Obedience to God, in the matter of Giving, in the matter of living a Holy and Humble life?

I have discovered that God is true one hundred per cent! I am not perfect; I have many faults and failures. But I know this: that if I have surrendered my will to the will of God, in total surrender and obedience, and determined to give Him first place in my life, then God will take up the challenge and prove to me that He is a living and true, a faithful and compassionate God.

I have noticed, that ever since the breakthrough in my life came on June 16th 2020, God has been showing me many things. I am able to see more clearly. I am walking in a new light. My mind is clear. There are no worries or fears or doubts or uncertainties. It’s like living close to the Lord. It has taken 30 years (from the time I was born again) for me to prove in my life that God is very REAL.

Even in the smallest things, God shows me what to do. There is more courage, more faith, and, yes, more ‘fear of God’. If I don’t do my Quiet Time, God has made it clear: the whole day is upset! If I don’t do Family Prayer, my conscience says, Get up and do it, or you will get no sleep! I am in His eternal bonds; it is a wonderful thing to be ‘a prisoner of the Lord’.

I am still on my spiritual journey. I still have a lot to learn. But it is amazing how the Bible speaks to me in my Quiet Time and in Family Prayer. The best thing is that I am happy to be ‘hidden’ in the secret place with God; no craving to preach, no desire for publicity. The hidden life is the best life. Remember Elisha praying in the secret place and the king of Syria thwarted again and again, 2 Kings 6. To have that power with God is more than sufficient for you and me, O child of God! To enter the realm of hidden prayer and hidden giving and bold loving and bold encouraging and inspiring and comforting,  and getting the feeling that rivers of living water that have started flowing… it’s amazing. A different world altogether.

I am writing this is haste, since I don’t want to forget putting down on paper what the Lord has been doing in my life this last fortnight. Of course, there have been stages over the last 30 years – a lot of it covered by pain and fear and worry and dark clouds, a lot of it the experience of ‘enduring the cross’, a lot of it experiencing the hatred of the enemy – but, through it all, the Lord has been faithful. He carried me through in His everlasting arms, and on His faithful shoulders. He is the Alpha and the Omega, the God of Phil 1.6. “He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Hallelujah! Praise Him!

JK

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LIVING WATER

small waterfallThe other day, in family prayer, while we were reading John chapter 4 regarding the woman of Samaria, the Lord brought my attention to the words ‘living water’. And I thought: The Lord is telling me something! So I jotted down a few thoughts on ‘living water’ in my notebook.

The whole issue was this: The woman of Samaria was thirsty for ‘something’ – something deeply spiritual. She came daily to the well, all alone, probably because she was avoided by other women. She was living a dissolute life; she had had five husbands, and was in a live-in relationship with the sixth. How many people are like that Samaritan woman, seeking satisfaction in the flesh and in the world! Unless we are spiritually satisfied at the fountain of living water, Jer 2.13, we will never be satisfied at all. Our spirit will be dry, our soul famished, and our body weary with running here and there.

The Lord said, “If only you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” John 4.10. If only we knew! He is the fountain! Friends, we are living in the desert of this world, wandering around seeking an oasis. I remember when I was young and trekking in the Himalayan foothills, when we were thirsty all we had to do was to find a little hill-spring and fill our canteens with cool, fresh, living water and quench our thirst. Water, the basis of life! Water from the wells of salvation! Drinking from the fountainhead, the Lord Jesus Christ Himself! Jesus told the woman, “Whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” John 4.14. May God be merciful to you; may you truly understand the gospel and humble yourself to receive that precious living water from the Heavenly Fountain! In other words, may you be really and truly saved!

But it is not only that the Lord Jesus Christ is the Living Fountain, the passage in John 4 tells us that the Word of God is like living water. We say, “They drank in His words!” When there is the anointing of the Holy Spirit, your words will flow like living water to refresh thirsty souls. How many marvelled at the gracious words that fell from the lips of our Saviour when He was here on earth, Luke 4.22. We have the expression, ‘The washing of the water of the Word’, Eph 5.26. And John 15.2 tells us about being ‘cleansed by the Word’. Reader, are you daily feeding on the Word of God? Are you in the habit of reading God’s Word upon your knees in your Quiet Time? Have you read the Bible through at least once? Get a good translation (like NKJV, NASB, NLT, ESV or the Amplified) and start reading now! Have your thirst quenched by the living words of Holy Scripture!  I once used to read a lot of books, good classical stuff, but now neither Jane Austen nor  Anthony Trollope satisfy me anymore. I do appreciate good poetry occasionally, but no, no more novels, not even short stories! My days with English Literature are past, finis.

I must interject here: The woman was saved, not by any miracle, but simply by the words that came from the lips of our Divine Saviour. Miracles don’t save you; you are saved by the incorruptible Word of God! How few committed themselves to Christ though He performed so many signs and miracles when He was here on earth! (The Charismatics have gone amiss on this count!)

But there is a third aspect of ‘living water’ – apart from the Lord Jesus Christ being the Source, and the Word of God being the means. How do we receive ‘living water’? Sometimes by listening to an evangelical sermon in church or sometimes by reading the Gospel of John or even by being impacted by a single Bible verse! But, do you know that anointed servants of God, spiritual men and women of God, can be vessels of living water? (Read John 7.37, 38).  I was profoundly impacted by spiritual mothers when I first came to church. Why, I do believe that the kindness of a loving Christian wife in sending me chicken soup when I was sick – in a continued act of kindness – drew me into the kingdom of God. It’s not your sermons, my friend, but it is the acts of kindness and love that have a  tremendous impact in the salvation of souls. Jesus transformed water into wine. The best wine, drawn from a vessel of living water, is compassion and love from a servant of Christ. If you are willing to pay the price, then ‘out of you’, my friend, can flow ‘rivers of living water’.

JK

 

 

 

 

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The Prayers of Elisha

the-life-and-miracles-of-elisha

The passage from 2 Kings 6:8-12 keeps coming to mind every time I pray. The king of Syria made many plans to attack Israel, but every time his plans failed. The Syrian king asked his servants, “Why is this happening?”  Then one of his servants said, “The prophet Elisha in Israel tells the king of Israel the words you speak in your bedroom”. How did Elisha come to know the evil devices of the Syrian king? It was his prayer life.

I believe that God is speaking about the power of prayer, at least to me. Isn’t it wonderful to have power with God through prayer? So many of us who have gifts and talents want to display them through our preaching and teaching. We want to be ‘seen’. How much better it is to have a ‘hidden’ life in secret prayer. To prevail with God through earnest intercession!

My wife says, “God has given you so much revelation; shouldn’t you share it with others through an online ministry of the word?” I tell her, “God has not given me permission to do so.  I have tasted something far better: to have power in the secret place through prayer!” But, my dear friends, to have power in prayer, one must be totally surrendered to God. Nothing in this world for self, everything for God! Is it possible? It is! But only through the way of the Cross! Oh, that my Christian friends would understand the secret! We have been wasting our time in so many fruitless activities. If only we surrendered everything on the altar of the living God!

I desire to have what Elisha had. To pray and intercede and see the results and rejoice. It is something incredibly sweet to have your prayers and intercessions answered. My preaching and teaching is nothing compared to a life of fervent and disciplined intercessory prayer. Some of you should read the book, “Intercessor” by Rees Howells. Then you would understand what I am talking about!

I am writing this in hurried fashion, because it has to be told!

Jonathan Kirby

 

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A Brief Romance

boats sailing

Between you and me
Is a long stretch of sea
Preventing us
From communicating with each other
Properly.

My words fly through the air
And settle here and there,
Scattered like pigeons on the sand;
And boats which swiftly sail
With messages, in hail
And storm are wrecked before they land.

Bridges were built
But over seas of guilt
They do not stand.
What was the blood we spilt,
The hidden guilt,
Now red upon our hands?

Truly, my dear,
In the span of a year,
Love…
And death….
And a vale of tears.

Tan Pratonix

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If I were a Muddlehorse

shetland pony race

If I were a Muddlehorse
With a black mane,
I’d be running on a race course
With horses from Spain,

And all those Spanish horses
Would be running like the wind;
But you cannot beat a Muddlehorse
And I left them all behind.

II
Muddlehorses come in sizes
Six to eleven,
The smallest ones win all the prizes
They run sixty miles in seven

(Minutes, of course.) A Muddlehorse
Can live on grass, but most-
ly he likes cabbages and candy-floss
And Muddle-made toast.

III
Muddlehorses race on the sea;
In the forests of Germany
They are found
Meditating on the nature of movement
underground.

TAN PRATONIX

(PS. I might have had Shetland ponies in mind when I wrote this poem long, long ago!)

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Calvinism and Pentecostalism

Well, all ‘isms’ are bad. The Bible doesn’t talk about ‘isms’. These are two extremes of a twisted Christianity. People are too lazy to read the Bible. And they will not accept the Cross in their lives. I pray that these two posters/pictures will lead you to read the Bible prayerfully on your knees. We are in the last days, and there is decadence all around. We need to go back to the old paths, Jer 6.16. If you want to know more, check out my Christian blog at bit.ly/tebeth.

JK, CH, RO & NN

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FAULTS AND FAILINGS

Prov 8.17

This is intensely personal and meant to benefit those who seek a closer, deeper, more intimate walk with the Lord. (We have too many shallow Christians around, especially in America. No hard feelings, please.)

In my spiritual journey, I’ve realized that God is more interested in our practical life than in what we believe as a creed or doctrine. Today the whole evangelistic Christian world has been swamped by a false theology that gives more importance to doctrine than to practical faith and a holy walk. What do I mean by this? Take the Reformed Church, for example; they believe in John MacArthur, John Piper, RC Sproul, JI Packer, etc. These may be good men personally. But they have exerted an unhealthy influence on evangelical Christians everywhere. Their Calvinistic doctrines have suppressed life and walk and intimacy with God.

But  I need to come back to the subject of an intimate walk with the Lord. It is assumed, of course, that one has a truly born-again experience, loves and knows God’s Word (from Genesis to Revelation), is in the habit of frequent prayer (on a daily basis), and that he fellowships with other born-again believers, taking part with them in the Lord’s Table on a weekly basis, and finally is a true witness for Christ in public and in the church community. Out of these five aspects, I focus on prayer. Prayer is the means of truly reaching out to God. However, God demands that we come with a humble and repentant spirit. And He insists on holy conduct. If our practical lives exhibit our faults and failings (personality traits), which dishearten others in the faith, then we are duty-bound to correct these faults and failures. Our wives and loved ones may be pointing out these behaviour defects to us. We make think these are just human idiosyncrasies. Not so! When we have received Christ as Saviour and Lord, and He dwells in our heart and spirit through the Holy Spirit, there must and will be a radical change in our lives. Others will see Christ in us! (I have interacted with Christians in my country and in America, but many are merely namesake or carnal/worldly. This is not a snap judgment!)

 

speech seasoned with grace

But coming to myself, I realized that I cannot be glib and superficial in my prayer life. God demands that I be humble and serious about rectifying my defects in thinking, in speech and in behaviour. So the other night, when I could not sleep, (I got up at 2 am or so), I sat down and jotted down all my faults and failings. Here they are (put in blog form):

1. Strong and somewhat condemnatory tone in my messages. (Our words have to be gracious.)

2. Talk about your own failures, rather than the failures of others.

3. Apologize to your children for being over-bearing with them. (Rather, walk alongside with them. Understand that they are still learning and they have not reached your level of Christian maturity, at least, in understanding the Scriptures.)

4. Don’t be glib and careless, telling people: “I’m praying for you” when you don’t actually pray for them. Rather say, “I occasionally remember you in my prayers.” Never give a wrong impression to others; that is dishonest and amounts to lying.

5. Self-centredness. Always thinking about oneself and one’s family. Often indulging in self-pity (that’s a sin!). (Learn to think of others, reach out to them, pray for them! If you are centred around yourself and your own family, you are a selfish Christian – and that’s abominable to God!)

6. Talk to those who you think have hurt you. Don’t break off communication with them. (You too might have hurt others,  too, by your talk and behaviour.)

7. Ask God for wisdom before speaking on phone or face-to-face with people on personal or inter-personal issues. Don’t be hasty. (Keep a lid on your volubility or garrulousness.)

8. Don’t be rough, outspoken, boisterous & tactless. Some people are sensitive, and may think you’re  brutish. Your speech and demeanour must be gentle. That doesn’t mean that you should always be melancholy; God permits wit and humour. He wants smiling Christians, not frowning ones.

9. Don’t hurt others’ feelings by pointing out the flaws of their wives and mother-in-laws. A godly man may have a shallow wife and a racist mother-in-law. Don’t bring them into the conversation.

10. Speak less. Listen more.

11. Be kind and forgiving. (In nursing hurts and grievances, you will be the loser.)

12. Learn from your wife, she is your best critic. Learn gentleness and tact from her.

13. You may have held a high and powerful job for many years. Don’t bring that authority into your interpersonal relationships in church or in the family. It just doesn’t work. Don’t be ‘commanding’ or ‘condemnatory’, and don’t expect results instantly. Be humble and patient. Humility and patience are two virtues developed over a long, long time, in the crucible of suffering.

14.  You spoke about the worm and the snake (Based on Roy Hession, The Calvary Road). We have a snake nature (the old man,  selfish human nature), and we resort to strong  remarks. Don’t retaliate. All those sharp reactions must go. Be soft in speech, and soft in behaviour. A complete overhaul. Being a worm is not easy, but it’s the key! (You are no better than others; you are the worst of sinners! Got it?)

15. Pray, pray, pray, (short, injectory prayers) while interacting with people. You cannot be your natural self, with all its angularities and peculiarities (they must go!); you must be meek and gentle, Eph 4:1-3.

16. Be humble, there’s nothing great about you…you are just an ‘earthen vessel’.

17. There are parties and cliques in church. Never join any clique or party. You are in the church for the Lord, not for any group or sect! Reach out to people, even those on ‘the other side’. Never get trapped in these small-minded groups. God hates divisions.

18. Don’t share you heart with one and all, except with truly spiritual (and elderly) people. It’s rare to find a young man or woman who is truly spiritual; all are a ‘work in process’. But the elderly have been through life, have borne the cross, and they can give sound advice.

I’m keeping this list before me and telling the Lord to eradicate all these faults and failings. There’s a lot to learn from the Book of Proverbs, especially on how to speak and behave. Study all references to the subject in that book of practical wisdom.

If I confess my sins, I am confident that He who is just and faithful will forgive me and give me grace to overcome. He is the Potter and I am the clay, and by telling him frankly where I have failed, He will understand and set things right in my conduct and character. Oh, to be transformed into the image of Christ!

CH

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KNOWING GOD: 2600 POSTS

cropped-colourlovers-com-persian_garden.png

EDITORIAL, 15.6.2020

As one 15th June, 2020, the total number of posts number over 2600. Many are 1 minute, 2 minute, 5 minute reads. But some are much longer, because the subjects they discuss are vital for our understanding of God’s divine order in the Church and in our own Christian life. So be patient, dear reader, read every long post carefully and prayerfully. If you feel that you cannot agree with anything written in the longer postings (some 20-min, 30- and 40-min reads), do write to me, through the Comments section.

This is not your familiar devotional blog. Some spiritual issues are highlighted in depth, so that we are not blinded by worldly thinking or Satan’s deceptive ways. We live to honour God and His Word.

My advice is to start with the small 1-min, 2-min reads, the meditations on the Psalms, and some testimonies and biographies. Some delightful posters are scattered here and there. For more serious women readers, Eine Mutter (A Mother, in German)  is a good start. It’s the testimony of a humble and godly Swiss woman that must be read by every Christian woman in the world today. Recent postings on Women Speaking in Church and Women and Head Covering are to be read carefully and prayerfully by my women readers from the US, Europe and the UK. Today the whole Christian world seems to have been taken over by women bishops, women apostles, women pastors, women preachers, women evangelists, etc. This is clearly violative of God’s order and anyone who does not submit to the authority of God’s Word is coming under God’s judgment.

I belong to a non-denominational, Bible-believing, prayerful, gospel-oriented church in the tradition of true mainline Christianity. There are no denominational labels. We are just believers, children of God, believing strongly in the Word of God and engaged in the extension of God’s kingdom and the building up of the house of God.

With love in Christ

JK

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WOMEN SPEAKING IN CHURCH

(Please read this slowly and prayerfully. It is almost entirely based on God’s Word. I said ‘almost’. In our church we permit women to pray in our prayer meetings, but we do not permit women to stand on the pulpit and teach men. Women have their separate women’s ministry, Sunday School ministry, Young Girls’ Meetings, etc. ~ Ed)

women should not speak

It is not a question of custom, or the teaching, or the practices of the Church in general, but “What saith the Lord?” This must settle everything for the true believer.” We proceed, to enquire into what God has said in His Holy Word about the woman speaking in the Church.

The first scripture we turn to is the well-known passage in 1 Cor. 14:34-35: “Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. And if they will learn anything, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the Church.” Here it is plainly laid down that the woman is NOT to speak in the Church, or assembly. It must be understood that “the Church” here is the assembly of God’s saints, His people. The expression, “in the Church,” or “Churches,” is used five times in this chapter (vers. 19, 28, 33, 34 and 35), and it always means the gathering of the Christians in assembly.

We inquire what the “silence” mentioned here means. Does the apostle mean silence in an absolute sense, or a “conditional silence” as some have suggested. A glance over the chapter down to the 34th verse, makes plain that the apostle is giving instruction to the men as to the exercise of their gift. He says in verse 23, “If therefore the whole Church be come together into one place,” etc. They were to speak only one at a time; and two or three speakers was to be the limit; the others were to judge. “Ye may all prophesy one by one,” he says. They had carried their speaking to an excess, evidently, for he says in verse 26, “How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, everyone of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying.” Whatever the exercises mentioned here may have been, the brethren were abusing their liberty, with too much speaking. This he proceeds to correct, down to end of verse 33. Then he turns to the sisters, and commands that they “keep silence in the Churches” saying, “It is not permitted unto them to speak.”

To say that the word here means to “chatter,” gossip, or whisper during “service,” is but to betray the weakness of their position. The same Greek word for “speak” is used throughout this chapter. In verse 21 it is used of God thus: “With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people.” No, reader; the word does not mean chatter, or anything else than just to ‘speak;’ and the apostle says, “It is a shame for women to speak in the Church.”

“Oh,” some flippantly answer: “That was Paul; he was a bachelor, and was trying to keep women down.” Is this the estimate in which you hold the Word of God? Is Scripture to you but the word of Paul, or Peter, or any other man? If so, it is no use to discuss this question further with you, for our only standard of authority is the Holy Scripture; and if the Bible is not wholly and everywhere the word of God to you, we may as well dismiss the subject. These are not the arbitrary orderings of a mere man, biased in favor of his own sex, or prejudiced against women, but “the commandments of the Lord,” and therefore to be submitted to and obeyed without question.

Others tell us that this prohibition was only of local application, that it meant just the women of Corinth, who were loud and brazen, and unqualified to take part in the public exercises of the assembly. Who told them, we ask, that women in the Corinthian Church were different, less modest or decorous, than the women of other localities? Scripture does not!

But is the application of the passage limited to the women of Corinth alone? Read the ascription in the beginning of the epistle; to whom is it addressed? “Unto the Church of God which is at Corinth … with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours” (1 Cor. 1:2). This is decisive — is it not? The instructions given in the epistle are not of mere local application, but are intended for, and addressed to, all professing Christians everywhere — all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. And in the very passage under discussion the apostle does not say “your Church,” but “the Churches,” which forbids limiting the prohibition to the local Church at Corinth.

The woman’s place is one of subjection and retirement, not of leadership. This disposes entirely of the contention of those who say that this was “only Paul.” He had the law as a second witness to add force to what he says by the Spirit of God. And instead of the apostle being against woman, as some unjustly charge him to be, he everywhere honors her in her proper sphere, and commands her husband to love her, even as Christ loved the Church (Eph. 5:25Col. 3:19). In Romans 16, where he makes honorable mention of a number of believers, not a few of the names are those of women.

The Corinthians, in this matter of the women speaking in the Church,  may have thought themselves free to do as they pleased in this matter: the apostle checks this by saying, “What! came the word of God out from you? or came it unto you only?” (ver. 36); that is to say, Have you authority from the Lord what you shall do in this matter? The word of God has not come from you, but to you. They were therefore to submit to the commandment of the Lord by the apostle.

Closely akin to the passage we have had before us is that in 1 Tim. 2:11-15: “Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. Notwithstanding she shall be saved (preserved) in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.” This also relates to woman’s place in the assembly, for  the epistle is  written that Timothy might know how to conduct himself “in the house of God, which is the Church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth” (1 Tim. 3:15).

The woman was to learn in silence — not suffered to teach. Learning, in silence, with all subjection, was her God-given place. This place she was to take with glad and willing obedience to the command of the Lord. It is the “perfect law of liberty,” and to the submissive and loyal soul, “His commandments are not grievous.”

The silence enjoined here includes even audible prayer by the women in the place of public assembly. (Many women in their prayers in church are very voluble and emotional; few, if any, pray in the Spirit. ~Ed.)

The silence enjoined upon women in the assembly does not rest on one single text, but is found in various portions of the Word. But we have here in Timothy what is not so plainly told us in Corinthians, i. e., the reason why the woman is not to teach in the assembly. Two reasons are given: one is, Adam’s priority in creation, implying headship; the other, that the woman was deceived by the tempter. It says that “Adam was not deceived” like the woman. He sinned with his eyes open. He was even more guilty than his wife, but it was she who was deceived. And having proved herself a bad leader in this respect, in God’s wise government she was debarred from the place of authority or teaching in the Church. We should not say that her place is inferior to that of the man, but different, We might say that, positionally, man is superior — not in himself; as has been aptly said: “Here (in 1 Tim. 2:14) we get the first and most powerful warning against woman taking the lead — at the very start of man’s journey across the ocean of time.” “In the present day the great majority of spiritist mediums are women. Modern Spiritism began with women. It is an hysterical woman, Mrs. E. G. White, who by her blasphemous pretensions has been the leader, and largely the inventor of that wicked system called Seventh-day Adventism. Christian Science — which is neither Christian nor scientific — owes its origin to Mrs. Eddy — a woman of bad repute. Theosophy, as known in the Western Hemisphere, was popularized by a woman — Mrs. Besant.” And we might add to the list the present-day Tongues Movement, with its attendant fanaticism and immorality (in spite of its pretentious claims to “perfect holiness”), in which women are the most prominent leaders. (Sad to say, many evangelical churches today give an unhealthy prominence to unstable women. And we have women pastors, women preachers, and the like. ~Ed.)

This is not indeed to slight woman; for, as we have stated before, it is only positionally that man is above woman.  As another has said, “It is not a question here of woman’s ability. It is gladly admitted that compared with man, woman exhibits no inferiority of genius, culture, tact, speech, etc. And outweighing all her gifts and graces, is the demonstrated fact that her presence and power in the service of Christ are, under God, essential to the success, and even to the continuance of the Church. If she were removed from the sphere of action, probably every congregation of Christians in the land would soon become a stagnant pool. As a rule, woman is certainly the most effective force, not only in the family, “but also in the Church”.

“Christ came to save sinful women as well as men, and it is to the glory of His grace that we find among the former no recorded instance of a denial of His name, nor of apostasy from His cause. But it is a fact that of these brave and devoted women, He did not choose one as an apostle; nor did He choose one to go with the seventy, who were commissioned as public heralds to proclaim His approach to every city and place whither He Himself would come. The women who loved Him for His saving grace seemed to be more than content to follow His steps, to minister to Him of their substance, to speak His praise personally and privately; and when they could do nothing more, they offered Him the most grateful and acceptable service, the only service they could render, as they gazed upon Him on the cross through their streaming tears, and then came to anoint His precious body and to weep at His grave.”

But it is not only in the Church that the woman is to be in subjection; there are two other spheres in which she is to maintain the same attitude in reference to the man — in the home and in the world.

We turn back to 1 Corinthians 11, for this. We read there, “But I would have you to 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.” Here is given us the woman’s place in the natural sphere. Man is the head. Neither does this imply inferiority (else Christ would be essentially inferior to God, His Father — a thought impossible to those who believe in His eternal Deity); but, positionally, and as Man, the blessed Son took the place of subjection and obedience to the Father. In verses 4-7 the apostle directs that in prayer or prophesying, the woman, as a sign of her subjection to the man, is to cover her head; while the man, on the contrary, is to uncover his head. This custom of covering has been a witness for ages of the truth set before us here, of the headship of the man over the woman. “For the man is not of the woman, but the woman of the man. Neither was the man created for the woman, but the woman for the man,” the apostle says in vers. 8, 9. Then in vers. 10-16 he concludes the subject, giving the reasons why the woman should be covered while in the act of prayer: “For this cause ought the woman to have [the sign of] authority on her head, because of the angels,” as the R.V. renders ver. 10. The holy angels are interested in God’s family on earth. They have witnessed the fearful revolt of some of their fellows in heaven, in ages past, “who kept not their first estate.” They look now to see subjection to God’s authority and order in the circle of the redeemed. As has been beautifully expressed, “The Church, therefore, is the lesson-book which the angels especially delight to study, the brightest mirror that reflects the manifold and supernal glory of the triune God; and if the angels see the woman leaving her place of subjection and silence in the Church (woman as a type of the Church, sitting at the feet of Jesus and learning of Him), the lesson-book will be blotted, the mirror blurred, as the angels bend down to contemplate with adoring wonder.”

It is beyond our purpose to attempt to explain all that these verses teach; the one point we would press is that man is head, not only in the Church, but everywhere; and in like manner is the woman’s place in subjection. Long hair is her glory; because by it she shows her ready submission to the place given her of God in nature; and on special occasions she is to have, in addition to her hair, a covering of some kind to give emphasis to the fact. If she refuses this, the apostle, in evident irony, says, “Let her also be shorn,” i.e., be altogether like the man. Some ‘modern’ women, to their shame be it said, have of their own accord gone to this length, showing thus their utter contempt for what is written in God’s Word, and the rebellion of their own hearts against their God-assigned place since the Fall. (Do I have to mention the names of Joyce Meyer, Paula White, Bobbie Houston, Victoria Osteen, and the rest? ~Ed.) The man, on the other hand, and for a like reason, must not have long hair like the woman; for, says the apostle, “Doth not even nature itself teach you that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?”

Leadership, therefore, whether on platform or in assemblies, the street, or any public place, is forbidden to women by God’s Word.

What then can the woman do? some will ask. Much, indeed, and in many ways. What a large scope for her energies and gifts God has provided her in service, not only in her family, of which she is the loved and honored centre, but in meetings for women, in Sunday-school work, house-to-house visitation, tract distribution, and in much where the man is so inefficient — a nothing compared with the woman — as ministry among the sick. (Very true! ~Ed.)

To quote the well-chosen words of another: “The comfort and encouragement that an active, godly, Christian woman — moved by love to Christ and to souls, and yet governed by Scripture — can render, is incalculable. We profoundly respect such. Mary anointed the Lord for His burial. Martha served the Lord right well. Dorcas made herself deeply beloved by her good deeds. Phoebe was a servant of the Church and a succorer of many. Lydia entertained the apostle Paul in her house. Priscilla, subject to the headship and leadership of her husband, helped Apollos to understand the way of God more perfectly. Women labored with Paul in the gospel. Would that the descendants of these godly women were found in every city and village of the world! Happy, blessed service!”

But it is in the home circle, as the wife and “happy mother of children,” that the woman finds her special sphere in which to glorify God; it is here she shines the brightest, and exerts the mightiest influence. It is a remarkable fact  that in the books of Kings and Chronicles, where the reigning monarchs exerted such important influences with the people and in God’s testimony at the time, we are told some thirty times of “his mother’s name;” the Spirit of God thus pointing out to us what was probably the most important factor in the moulding of the character of the men who ruled His people Israel. Eternity alone will fully reveal all that Timothy (of whom Paul had no man so “like-minded”) owed to the early training received from his mother Eunice, and the influence, whether direct or indirect, of his grandmother Lois (See 2 Tim. 1:5). (All men of God have been shaped by godly mothers. I wish you would read bit.ly/einemutter to know who a godly mother is. ~ Ed)

It remains but to notice and meet a few of the objections by those who refuse to believe that God means just what He says in the command, “Let your women keep silence in the Churches.” Some argue that women can often preach and pray better than the men. This may be so, but that does not justify them in disobeying the plain Word of God, commanding them to “learn in silence.” Deceivers might often preach more fluently than the true servants of God (they often have done so), but this is no reason for putting them in the pulpit or on the platform. A fluent tongue and a clever mind does not argue a call from God to preach. And if it be urged that “female evangelists” and Salvation Army “lassies” (or Charismatic ‘women preachers’) have been much used of God in the conversion of souls, we answer, It may be all true, but it still proves nothing. It is a well-known fact that during the Great Revival in Ireland in 1859, sinners were convicted of sin and converted while listening to Roman Catholic priests saying mass. Does this prove the mass to be according to God? We have known souls to be saved under the preaching of men of whom it was afterwards learned that they were living at the time in secret sin of grave nature; and God has even used unconverted men to bring sinners to Himself. The present writer was led to a decision for Christ by one whose life since that time evidences that he himself was not a really converted man. (Amazing! ~Ed.)

So much for the argument that, because God in His sovereign grace makes use of women preachers, it must be right for them to preach. It was Finney who said that we must not even save a soul from death if we cannot do it in God’s appointed way. And when the great Spurgeon was once asked if he had heard a certain woman preach, he replied that a woman might preach very cleverly, but that it was contrary to nature. Vastly more important than either of these is the word of the Lord by Samuel to the rebellious Saul: “Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams!”

The case of Philip’s daughters who prophesied is often alleged as proof that it is right for a woman to preach. But this scripture does not say that these women exercised their gift in public.* They evidently uttered their prophecies in the privacy of their father’s house (See Acts 21:8-9).** So, too, of the “praying and prophesying” of the woman in 1 Cor. 11:15; it could not be in public, for this was forbidden them. [*Prophesying is not exactly what we call a “gift,” but rather what one, in true communion with God, speaks for “edification, and exhortation, and comfort” to the hearers. See 1 Cor. 13:914:3-4. — **We have an indirect confirmation of this in that the subject of Philip’s daughters’ prophesying is not mentioned, whilst Agabus’ prophecy concerning Paul’s bonds and imprisonment was publicly declared.] (Absolutely right! ~Ed.)

Mary Magdalene and the woman of Samaria have been frequently referred to as having preached before men; but Scripture does not say so. The former was sent by the risen Lord with a message to His disciples (John 20:17). She was not sent to preach or to teach them, but just to carry the Lord’s glad message — a privilege of which any Christian woman might be the happy instrument. Likewise with the woman of Samaria; she too was the glad messenger of good news, that she had found Messiah at the well! “The woman then left her waterpot,” the record reads, “and went her way into the city, and saith to the men, Come, see a Man that told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?” She told to all whom she met of the new-found joy of her heart, which it is the precious privilege of all to do. This, too, is all that can be said of the passage in Acts 2:17-18. The daughters of Israel, Jehovah’s “handmaidens,” should prophesy, but where? Not in public preaching, certainly, for even “the law” forbade them that.

But is there no other place than a public congregation to utter the praises, the mercies, and the wondrous works of God? The aged Anna was a “prophetess” we are told in Luke 2:36; her prophesying was in serving God, with prayer and fasting, giving thanks and speaking to all that looked for redemption, of the infant Saviour whom her own eyes had beheld in the temple. Elizabeth, “filled with the Holy Ghost,” prophesied with loud voice as to Mary, who had come to visit her in her retirement. Mary herself then breaks out in excellent praise to God her Saviour. Hannah, in the Old Testament, gives out, under the Spirit’s power upon her, a prophetic song of praise to Jehovah, whose glorious power and grace she celebrates in true prophetic style.

Referring, no doubt, to Miriam at the Red Sea, Psalm 68:11 says, “The Lord giveth the word,” the women that publish the tidings are a great host” (R.V.), which may also apply to any similar time when, moved by great deliverances, the women unite in praises to God their Defender. But all this is not preaching, or taking leadership over men at all, as the verse following clearly shows: “Kings of armies flee, they flee; and she that tarrieth at home divideth the spoil.” All this is not in the Church, nor of the Christian dispensation, but applies prophetically to Israel in the last days, and the destruction of their enemies. It is celebrations of earthly victories by the women with song, timbrel and dance, as was customary in Old Testament times.

The case of Deborah is often adduced to justify women taking the lead in prayer and gospel meetings; but there is no comparison between the perfectly proper conduct of an Old Testament woman encouraging a more timid man to go forth to fight an earthly foe, and the practice of Christian women praying and preaching publicly when expressly forbidden to do so by God’s Word. And it is not, as many suppose, that Deborah led the armies of Israel, and Barak simply acted as her lieutenant, but the reverse — even if Deborah acted in any commanding capacity at all: “And Deborah arose and went with Barak to Kedesh,” the narrative reads (Judges 4:9). She did not lead, but accompanied him. (Very correct! ~ Ed)

It is a fitting place to quote here the words of another concerning the place of woman in Scripture: “Her place is emphatically not one of public testimony. There are sixty-six books in the Bible; and all their authors, who were distinctly chosen of God, were men. Not one was a woman. There were twelve apostles; they were all men. There were seventy sent out by the Lord, in addition to the twelve. We are not told that there was one women among them. In Acts 6 there were ‘seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom,’ chosen to serve tables; not one was a woman. There were many witnesses cited in 1 Cor. 15 to prove the resurrection of the Lord. Individual men are mentioned as witnesses, but there is no mention of a single woman. This is strikingly significant, as Mary is the first individual to see Christ risen, and was entrusted by Him with a wonderful message to the disciples. Her exclusion from the list of witnesses is the strongest possible proof that Scripture does not give to woman a place of public testimony. There were bishops appointed in the early Church; they were all men. Deacons and elders are described in 1 Timothy and in Titus; but they were all men. There are two witnesses in Rev. 11; they are prophets — not prophetesses, nor a prophet and a prophetess, but men.

We will refer to but one more scripture, advanced by supporters of woman’s public ministry: it is Galatians 3:28. “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” Let us note that it is not what we are in the flesh (in the body) that the passage speaks of, but of what we are “in Christ Jesus” — the risen One. It is of our standing in grace before God that the apostle speaks in this scripture. “In Christ” there is no sex, or its attending relationships, husband and wife, father, mother, and children. But those “in Christ” now are still in the body, with the relationships to which the commands, of which we have been speaking, attach. While we are here in the body these earthly relations exist, and God’s appointments and order are to be displayed in them. It would be a terrible thing indeed if being “in Christ” through divine grace, our responsibilities in nature were abrogated. To use Gal. 3:28 to support public ministry for women comes of strange and gross misunderstanding indeed! (I quite agree! ~Ed.)

Christian women, your place in relation to the man is so plainly laid down in God’s Word that you need have no doubt whatever as to the line of action that is yours to follow, if there is in you the spirit of obedience to the Lord. You have no excuse for disobeying. The responsibility rests upon you to subject yourselves, not to the word of men, but to “the command of the Lord.” It is both your happiness and your honor to obey what is written.

Service has no value in God’s eyes unless it be rendered with a willing and subject heart, and in conformity to the regulations laid down in His unchanging Word. May we all, both men and women, in the Church and in the home, and in our necessary intercourse with the world without, do only those things which please Him who “hath loved us, and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savor” (Eph. 5:2). We are sanctified, not only by the blood, but by the Spirit, “unto the obedience of Jesus Christ,” (1 Peter 1:2) — to obey as He obeyed. “It is written,” was ever uppermost in all His blessed pathway here of subjection and obedience to His Father. May this mind be in us which was also in Christ Jesus!

We cannot conclude our subject without quoting once more from the valuable pamphlet of the late Dr. James H. Brookes: “Women in the Church.” “The names of women are mentioned all through the sacred pages very much as the names of men; some of them standing forth as bright examples of faith and lofty devotedness, and illustrious usefulness in the service of God, and some of them exhibiting all the weaknesses and meannesses of our depraved nature. Deborah the prophetess was raised up, when the courage of man had utterly failed, to break the yoke of foreign oppression from the neck of prostrate Israel (Judges 4). In contrast, it was the prophetess Noadiah who sought by wicked machinations to defeat Nehemiah in his labor to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem (Neh. 6). Huldah, the prophetess, bore true testimony for Jehovah (2 Kings 22); but Miriam, the prophetess, although her song of triumph had rung out on the shores of the Red Sea, was smitten with the curse of leprosy for her insubordination, and for her complaint against her brother, Moses (Num. 12). Eve tempted Adam, who was base enough to lay the blame of his own sin upon his wife, and indirectly, upon God who took her from his side. Sarah led Abraham to do a grievous wrong, and then cruelly cast forth the hapless Hagar from her house. Rebekah connived with Jacob to cheat her firstborn out of his birthright blessing; but Jacob was made to know the value of a lovely woman in the loss of Rachel, whose sudden death ended his earthly hopes and aspirations, for he says ‘As for me, Rachel died by me in the land of Canaan.’  (True, but let us not forget that God showed special love to the poor unlovely and unloved Leah! ~Ed.) The Sareptan widow was taught that the word of the Lord is truth only by the bitter lesson of deep personal affliction; and the Shunammite mother could say in unfaltering faith and unclouded peace, even over the dead body of her child, ‘It is well!’ The beautiful Abigail was a woman of good understanding, and she turned aside the wrath of David from his purposed folly; but the beautiful Bathsheba was the victim of his lust; and the brilliant reign of his son Solomon was marred, and Solomon himself ruined, by those whom the Holy Spirit describes as ‘outlandish (foreign) women’ (Neh. 13:26).” (Do I have to tell you how many wives and concubines Solomon had? ~ Ed.)

It is a notable fact that in the religious bodies or associations where women’s public speaking and leadership are sanctioned, as with “the Friends” and Salvation Army —  (and today the evangelical and Pentecostal/Charismatic churches, and even the established Protestant denominations ~ Ed) — expediency or the human will largely supplants the Word of God. In both of these, Christian baptism and the Lord’s Supper are wilfully disregarded; and wilful disobedience in one thing leads to many others. (Very important.)

Little more need be said on woman’s place according to Scripture. We have attempted to make our examination as exhaustive as possible. In her place, woman is most beautiful and admirable — in devotedness especially. Out of her place, she may become the most effective tool of Satan for the ruin of men. It was “that woman Jezebel” that was suffered in the Church at Thyatira, to teach and to seduce Christ’s servants, introducing into the circle of God’s saints doctrines and corrupting influences of the worst type, seen in their full fruition in the Church of Rome to-day. And in a later day women have had prominent part in systems of error, far removed from Rome externally, but in some respects quite as violative of Scripture and as wicked as the one designated as “the mother of harlots and abominations of the earth.”

In contrast, and as a beautiful example to the godly, is the aged Anna, of whom Scripture gives this worthy account: “She was the daughter of Phanuel (i.e. Penuel, the face of God), of the tribe of Aser (happy) … and departed not from the temple, but served God with fasting and prayers night and day.” She joined the venerable Simeon in his thanksgiving to God for His gift of the infant Christ, “and spake of Him to all that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.” As has been remarked, she gave her testimony, not in the congregation of the Lord, but in the temple. She had indeed seen “the face of God,” and was in consequence “happy,” not in public ministry, but personal testimony to the Lord, her Saviour.

Go and do likewise, Christian woman, and you too shall be “happy” — happy in the smile of God’s approval now, and by and by, at the “judgment seat of Christ,” with the word of His approval, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant; enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.” Amen!

C KNAPP (edited, with some comments in brackets by the author of this blog)

 

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Brief Meditation on Psalm 23

 

pink lilies

(It is good to read these Meditations by J. Wilbur Chapman. The entire text is available at http://www.wholesomewords.org )

Eleventh Day: “He restoreth my soul.”

“When the soul grows sorrowful, He revives it;
when it is sinful, He sanctifies it;
when it is weak, He strengthens it.

He does it.
His ministers could not do it if He did not;
His word would not avail by itself.”

The believer is liable to fall; but to fall and to fall away are two quite different experiences. Peter fell, until he struck the prayers of Him who said, “Satan hath desired you, but I have prayed for thee.” The fifteenth of Luke is the lost chapter for the Christian; and it is possible for us, like the coin, to be lost and still be in the house; for our place to be as an adornment for our risen Head, as the lost piece of silver, and yet be on the floor and for that reason useless; but, as the sheep had its shepherd, the money its owner, the prodigal his father, so we have our Lord to whom we may offer the prayer, “Restore my soul, O Thou shepherd of the sheep.”

The same hand which first rescued us from ruin reclaims us from wandering; and, when He restores, it is to the same standing that we had before our fall from fellowship. Someone has said that that expression of the prodigal’s father, “Bring forth the best robe,” is literally, “Bring forth the same old robe he used to wear,” which teaches that, when the prodigal went home, it was to have the same standing he had before his awful blunder.

We must have restoration, for of what use would be the green pastures to a soul out of tune with God?

We must have placed upon us His hand, and hear His voice saying, “Peace, be still”; for of what use would be the still waters if our souls were turbulent and distressed?

You may be lost to the holiness, the happiness, the peace, the power, that once was yours. If so, you need His restoring touch. If you were ever higher spiritually than you are to-day, you have fallen just the difference between that higher point and this.

Suggestions for Today:

1. Find out what it is that has robbed you of your peace and joy. The responsibility cannot be upon God; it must be with you.
2. Confess your faults to God or to men as you may have sinned against them. Remember you are no more nearly right with God than with your fellow men.
3. Believe that what you have honestly confessed He will freely forgive.
4. Breathe in once again of His fullness.
5. Ask Him for special help for the day, which may be yours on the morrow; then rest in Him.


From The Secret of a Happy Day: Quiet Hour Meditations by J. Wilbur Chapman.

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