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    • By 1Timothy115 in Devotionals
         11
      Psalms 119:1-8                                         Sep. 5 - Oct. 2, 2019
      1 ALEPH. Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the LORD.
      2 Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart.
      3 They also do no iniquity: they walk in his ways.
      4 Thou hast commanded us to keep thy precepts diligently.
      5 O that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes!
      6 Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all thy commandments.
      7 I will praise thee with uprightness of heart, when I shall have learned thy righteous judgments.
      8 I will keep thy statutes: O forsake me not utterly.
      The following verse stood out to me...
      5 O that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes!
      At first glance it seemed to me this person’s soul is poured out with intense desire to have God’s direction in keeping His Word.
      I made a small wood fire in our backyard for my granddaughter, Julia, since she would be staying overnight with us. My wife and Julia stayed outside at the fire for about half an hour. Then, I found myself alone to watch the fire die out on a particularly lovely evening. So I took my verse from above and began to repeat it for memorization. As I repeated the verse, I tried to contemplate the words and apply them to what I was seeing around me. 
      The moon and stars were out now peering through the scattered clouds above.
      [Genesis 1:16 And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also. Genesis 1:17 And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, Genesis 1:18 And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good.]
      Thought 1         
      The moon has stayed his course since the day God created him, also the stars, obeying the statutes directed by God from the first day they were created. Can you imagine God’s direction to the Moon and stars, “moon you will have a path through the sky above the earth, stars you will occupy the firmament above the moon and be clearly visible in the cloudless night sky.”
      Then, the trees, grass, even the air we breathe obey the statues God gave them from the beginning. None of these creations have souls, none have hearts, none have intelligence, but they all observe God’s statutes, His instructions for their limited time on earth.
      Thought 2
      What if we were like the moon, stars, trees, grass, or the other creations which have no soul? We would be directed to keep God’s statutes without choosing to keep them. This is not the image of God, there would be no dominion over other creatures, or over the earth. We would not be capable of experiencing the joy and peace of learning the love of God
      Genesis 1:26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
      Philippians 4:7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
      Thought 3 (October 2, 2019)
      Is the psalmist pleading God to force God’s statutes to become the man’s ways? No, he is speaking of his own failure in keeping God’s statutes and his desire to keep them, very much like Paul in Romans 7:14-25.
      God doesn’t work through force to turn men from their ways that they would desire His statutes or desire God Himself. Men must reject (repent) put aside his own ways and voluntarily seek God and His statutes.

What would you do?

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A friend and I were discussing this .   She attends a different church a Brethen Assembly.   They are very conservative,  close to IFB in practice and standards, at least her assembly is.  Well they have this woman that attends every once in awhile.   She dresses , well like the world,  the bible would call it a harlot.   Anyway, she is unsaved as of yet.   She wears what my friend says is "cleavage first" and a short skirt.    I asked has anyone said anything to her?   She said, no we just warmly welcome her.   Well I thought that  was really great.  But the truth is Im not so sure what my church would do.  We rarely have visiters that dont belong to another church.  Im not sure what would happen if she came to ours. I personally would welcome her, but others where I attend may do differently.    Some are very protective of their families,  and rightly so.    Opinions on what you might do?   

Edited by Thief on the Cross
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Amen. I agree.   Heartstrings.   We had a woman that attended years ago , she was a bit of a wild one.  Didnt dress terribly inappropriate.   She ended up leaving after some less than kind things were said to her.  The woman who said these things was very upset with herself after , but it was too late then.  

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She is lost, you can't, or shouldn't, in my opinion dictate how a visitor dresses. Jesus takes me "just as I am". We should follow His lead in this. The only exception I would make is if this caused some sort of uproar in the membership, then one of the ladies should gently take her under her wing and explain.

I can't think of of anything positive that could come from trying to change a lost person. She would most likely just stop coming, which would be a shame and a lost opportunity for The Holy Spirit to work on her.

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I went to one church down south, a long while ago, that the women had gotten spare modesty attachments for dresses. They were about the size of a hand towel and attached to the garment. If a new person came and was clear they were trying but just didn't know how to cover properly, one of the older ladies would kindly take here aside and explain the churches modesty requirements and show her how to attach it. Typically those who dressed immodestly did not come on their own but were invited by a conservative relative who would take them aside, so there was not to big of a problem with it for them. 

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15 hours ago, John Young said:

I went to one church down south, a long while ago, that the women had gotten spare modesty attachments for dresses. They were about the size of a hand towel and attached to the garment. If a new person came and was clear they were trying but just didn't know how to cover properly, one of the older ladies would kindly take here aside and explain the churches modesty requirements and show her how to attach it. Typically those who dressed immodestly did not come on their own but were invited by a conservative relative who would take them aside, so there was not to big of a problem with it for them. 

I was told of a church that had spare neck ties at the door, if you showed up without one you were given one to put on.   

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WOW!

28 minutes ago, Thief on the Cross said:

I was told of a church that had spare neck ties at the door, if you showed up without one you were given one to put on.   

...and what if you didn't? 

That sounds like more emphasis on the "outside of the cup".

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The majority of our men show up without neckties. While our ladies dress modestly for the most part, several of them still wear pants. They are Christians, not unsaved who attend irregularly. However, we are praying and trusting the Holy Spirit to reach our members as we teach and model Bible principle.  

What might I do in the case of the OP? I would try to befriend the woman - in church and out. Invite her to lunch, and after getting to know her a bit - and her getting to know me and to know that I genuinely care for her - I would ask if she would like to do a Bible study. On salvation. 

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24 minutes ago, HappyChristian said:

The majority of our men show up without neckties. While our ladies dress modestly for the most part, several of them still wear pants. They are Christians, not unsaved who attend irregularly. However, we are praying and trusting the Holy Spirit to reach our members as we teach and model Bible principle.  

What might I do in the case of the OP? I would try to befriend the woman - in church and out. Invite her to lunch, and after getting to know her a bit - and her getting to know me and to know that I genuinely care for her - I would ask if she would like to do a Bible study. On salvation. 

Just for the person reading this who is not aware - Happy Christian is a lady, and a Pastor's wife - I would suggest that a man not befriend a lady in this way. A man do this for a man, and a woman do this for a woman - or a couple do this....

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4 hours ago, DaveW said:

Just for the person reading this who is not aware - Happy Christian is a lady, and a Pastor's wife - I would suggest that a man not befriend a lady in this way. A man do this for a man, and a woman do this for a woman - or a couple do this....

Yes, DaveW, thanks for clarifying that!

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I think that not only can and should we have standards of dress in our churches, but that we most definitely do.  I don't believe that there is anyone here that would agree to allow a woman into their church wearing a bikini or a man wearing a speedo; even if it was a church built on a beach.  They would most certainly be spoken to and asked to leave and come back wearing more appropriate clothing.  It is because so many churches have relaxed their expectations of attire that so many people in the world no longer know what is appropriate attire for church; they need to be taught. 

Short skirts, tight clothing, low cut tops and tank tops are just as inappropriate as bikinis and speedos when attending church.  Not only do we have the right to set a higher standard of attire in our churches, but I believe that we have an obligation to our congregations to keep such things out of our services.  We want new converts and visitors, but not at the expense of corrupting our members.  We would not allow someone to drink alcohol or smoke cigarettes in a service or attend a service while they are drunk.  We would not allow homosexuals to display affection at our churches.  We wouldn't allow people to sit at a table in the back and gamble.  There are all sorts of things that we would not allow; why should the issue of attire be any different?

Most Catholic churches in Rome will tell women when they are not dressed appropriately and will not let them enter until they are.  Muslim communities, some even in the United States, expect women to dress appropriately out on public streets.  Many worldly establishments have certain dress codes that are accepted.  Many schools, nightclubs and places of business have strict dress codes.  If evil religions and worldly places can require such things, why do we think that we cannot?  I feel ashamed and embarrassed that Muslims have more conviction about modesty than we do.

Since we are set apart and are to be an example and a light to the world, we should be holding ourselves to a higher standard.  We should not be lowering certain standards in order to appeal to sinners.  Yes, we are to be understanding, to a certain degree, to new converts and visitors, but we must also let them know that there is a level of attire and behavior that will not be allowed in our places of worship.

Edited by Brother Stafford
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7 hours ago, Brother Stafford said:

I think that not only can and should we have standards of dress in our churches, but that we most definitely do.  I don't believe that there is anyone here that would agree to allow a woman into their church wearing a bikini or a man wearing a speedo; even if it was a church built on a beach.  They would most certainly be spoken to and asked to leave and come back wearing more appropriate clothing.  It is because so many churches have relaxed their expectations of attire that so many people in the world no longer know what is appropriate attire for church; they need to be taught. 

Here's a thought stemming from this point. It's a little bit 'culturally defined', but bear with me. 

The culture at large has a certain sense of 'appropriate dress' or behavior. It varies by location, and definitely isn't up to Biblical standards, but it's there. No one in the world (with a reasonable amount of maturity and self-awareness) would wear that speedo or bikini to a board meeting, or a symphony orchestra. I think they also have a general sense of what is acceptable for visiting a church, and generally, what visitors wear is acceptable - for all but the most modest churches (which is a sad statement on the state of Christianity at large - I'm thinking evangelical churches - more so than on the world). Unless a church's doors actually opened onto the beach sand, I really don't see any visitor ever trying to wear a swimsuit to church.  The 'swimsuit argument' is probably a bit of a straw man.

That all said, if a visitor did walk in in something that even the world culture understood was inappropriate for the setting, I think it would be appropriate to kindly challenge them on that. They either already know that it's inappropriate, or they are severely socially challenged. However, if what they are wearing meets the norms of what the culture/churchianity at large accepts as appropriate church wear, than they are actually trying to be appropriate and respectful. To fail to recognize that, and immediately challenge them to meet 'our' standards... isn't good.  

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3 hours ago, Salyan said:

No one in the world (with a reasonable amount of maturity and self-awareness) would wear that speedo or bikini to a board meeting, or a symphony orchestra... Unless a church's doors actually opened onto the beach sand, I really don't see any visitor ever trying to wear a swimsuit to church.  The 'swimsuit argument' is probably a bit of a straw man.

You missed my point.  I was using an extreme example to illustrate that every church believes in a certain minimum of appropriate attire that is expected to be allowed entrance into their services.

3 hours ago, Salyan said:

That all said, if a visitor did walk in in something that even the world culture understood was inappropriate for the setting, I think it would be appropriate to kindly challenge them on that... However, if what they are wearing meets the norms of what the culture/churchianity at large accepts as appropriate church wear, than they are actually trying to be appropriate and respectful.

The problem is that the world keeps changing what it believes to be appropriate attire.  There are things that I have seen women wear to church that even prostitutes would not have worn an hundred years ago; one of the reasons being that they would have been arrested.  The world's acceptable standards get lower and more inappropriate every year.

3 hours ago, Salyan said:

No one in the world (with a reasonable amount of maturity and self-awareness) would wear that speedo or bikini to a board meeting, or a symphony orchestra.

...Yet.

Not long ago, there was a time where no woman would have even considered being seen in public in yoga pants (essentially, slightly more modest pantyhose), but they are 100% comfortable with it today.  When my mother was a young woman, her brothers chased her into the backyard shed for wearing pants and would not let her come out until she agreed to put her dress back on.  There is a photograph of my grandmother lifting the front of her dress, just barely above her knees in order to expose her knees, that she always covered with her hand while we looked through her photo albums when I was a boy. 

3 hours ago, Salyan said:

That all said, if a visitor did walk in in something that even the world culture understood was inappropriate for the setting, I think it would be appropriate to kindly challenge them on that.

Letting the world set the standards for when we draw the line in our churches is a dangerous thing because of the ever lowering of standards of decency.   Again, since many people no longer know what is appropriate to wear in to a church, they need to be taught.  As I said above, we are to be understanding, to a certain degree, with new converts and visitors, but not to the point of allowing unacceptable immodesty.

I also find it interesting that some of the strongest push-back I receive on this issue is from female church members.  When I have invited non believers as guests, often they ask my what they should wear, but if they don't ask, I will just tell them that the men usually wear suits and the women wear loose fitting, high neckline dresses that come below the knees when seated.  I have never had any of my guests balk or complain at all.  They always seem to understand and respect it.

Also, requiring a certain standard is also to make sure that the guests are not uncomfortable.  As a man, I would feel incredibly uncomfortable being the only one in a t-shirt and jeans.  I know that women feel equally uncomfortable when they are the only one under dressed.  I attended a Baptist friend's wedding years before I was saved.  My girlfriend, at the time, was going to meet me there.  Being raised Catholic, I thought I should wear a suit, but she showed up wearing a tight black dress that came to her mid thigh and high heels.  I don't know if I have ever seen another woman blush as much as she did.  She was so uncomfortable that she asked me if she could wear my suit coat and she asked me if we could leave the second the ceremony was over.  Had my friend taken a moment to make sure we were on the same page, or had I made sure she knew how to dress for a church, we could have saved my girlfriend a tremendous amount of humiliation.

I have heard a handful of stories, mostly from women, that tell of a visiting female guest being spoken to about her attire and that that guest never returned.  I have heard the same scenario illustrated, time and time again, that if we hold to such standards, then visitors will be so offended that they shall return again no more.  I have never witnessed it happening, but even if a visitor, who was dressed too immodestly for church, got so offended by a kind and loving explanation of the dress requirements that they never returned, I have no problem with that.  If they are put off by such a reasonable request, they probably were not in the frame of mind to get much out of the service anyway. 

We are not to lower our standards for unbelievers.  Many IFB churches have adopted worldly CCM music for their services to appeal to more people.  Some have even started being okay with bible versions, other than the KJV being used by members. Churches in almost every denomination have full scale coffee shops and there are even some that have actual Starbucks in them.  Standards slip a little bit at a time and never stop falling unless intentional action is taken to stop it and/or reverse it.  We are not to lower our standards to accommodate the world.

Edited by Brother Stafford
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2 hours ago, Brother Stafford said:

The problem is that the world keeps changing what it believes to be appropriate attire.  

This is true.

I also find it interesting that some of the strongest push-back I receive on this issue is from female church members.  When I have invited non believers as guests, often they ask my what they should wear, but if they don't ask, I will just tell them that the men usually wear suits and the women wear loose fitting, high neckline dresses that come below the knees when seated.  I have never had any of my guests balk or complain at all.  They always seem to understand and respect it.

That was kinda my point too. When people know what to wear, they're happy to comply. I was speaking to those outsiders who don't know how 'we' precisely dress, so are dressing as they've seen other churches dress. They are trying to be respectful. 

And pushback can come for two reasons: either the women don't agree with the standards themselves (pretty sure that's not me; I'm one of the most conservative in my church), or they have the feminine understanding to know what the unsaid response might be.

We are not to lower our standards for unbelievers.  Many IFB churches have adopted worldly CCM music for their services to appeal to more people.  Some have even started being okay with bible versions, other than the KJV being used by members. Churches in almost every denomination have full scale coffee shops and there are even some that have actual Starbucks in them.  Standards slip a little bit at a time and never stop falling unless intentional action is taken to stop it and/or reverse it.  We are not to lower our standards to accommodate the world.

Never said we should. I was saying that we need to be considerate of the fact that these people are trying to be respectful, in their way, and recognize that we should not expect unbelievers to act like believers. 

 

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4 hours ago, Brother Stafford said:

I also find it interesting that some of the strongest push-back I receive on this issue is from female church members. 

And yet you ignore my question?

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5 hours ago, Brother Stafford said:

The problem is that the world keeps changing what it believes to be appropriate attire.  There are things that I have seen women wear to church that even prostitutes would not have worn an hundred years ago; one of the reasons being that they would have been arrested.  The world's acceptable standards get lower and more inappropriate every year.

Brother Stafford,

I certainly agree that the world keeps changing its standards of appropriate cultural attire, and that in many cases it changes toward that which would be Scripturally defined as immoral.  Certainly, when that occurs, we should NOT follow along in the way with them.

Yet it is not always wrong for God's people to adapt with the changing standards of cultural attire.  In fact, the suit coat and tie is a cultural development.  They certainly are not found within Biblical revelation.  Furthermore, pants-wear as outerwear (on men or women) is also a cultural development.  Such also is not found within Biblical revelation.  

Here is a question I have often wondered -- If I (an American man) showed up to most Fundamental Baptist churches wearing an embroidered robe, including tassels and bells on its hem, and wearing a girdle type belt, how would I be accepted in such churches? 

Edited by Pastor Scott Markle
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