Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Church is Established!

Sunday was a really great Sunday! Wanna know why? We constituted Covenant Baptist Church ! To those of you who don't know, 'cuz I'm not sure if I've ever mentioned this, when we moved to Barnesville Ga from Sylvania, we were trying to start a church. Long process. Finally, God opened the door for my Uncle Devin Maddox, Aunt Lucy, and their three little ones to move down here. My uncle is now able to help Daddy more, which is great! Anyway, after all this time, we were able to actually establish Covenant Baptist Church! God be praised! Now He will bring the increase in His time, but in the meantime, we are to keep working.

How about I give everybody a quick summary of our lives, so nothing will be confused. ;)

We were all born in Indiana... Ok, I know what you are thinking. NORTHERNERS! AAAHHH! Not really. Thank God, we are Southerners by His grace, but also by lineage! My Grandpa Brown originally came from Mississippi. (See? What did I tell you!) He came to Indiana, got married, and started a church! Then my dad was born, grew up, went into the Marine Corps, after the Marines married my mom (who also grew up in Indiana. But. I don't think her family came from down South.) then had all first of us 7 kids! God then called us to Georgia for my dad to pastor a church. We have moved several times, all in God's will for us. Then, we moved to Barnesville, and were in the process of starting a church. Now, we have established it! We have been in Barnesville ever since the end of May/first of June. Liberty was then born!

There were times when everything seemed dismal, at different curves in the road, but God always brought us through and now here we are! To Him be all glory and praise! I am so thankful that the church has now been constituted and the charter members all present. We took a picture of everybody and I'm posting it along. Aren't we a great looking bunch? =)

So there is a little bit of history, although a lot in between I didn't cover. That would take way too much time. Perhaps you are confused? I know...I'm not a very good writer. Most people could do a lot better job. I tried though, didn't I? Right now I am so glad that God always is faithful. What could we do without Him? Nothing! is the only answer.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Issue of Modesty, pt.2

Just what would be considered modest? That can be a major problem. But, there isn't any specific verse that tells just what is considered modest. After all, times change anyway. But that isn't an excuse to wear whatever is fashionable at the time. Let's try to figure this thing out.

When Adam and Eve were first made, they were without sin. They were naked, but they knew no shame. They were innocent. But, after they sinned, their eyes were opened and then did they know that they were without clothes. Funny thing now, don't you think? Not knowing you had any clothes on. Anyway, they then made themselves coverings. But God in His grace and mercy made them coats of animal skins to cover their whole bodies, not just their private parts. That should give us a little bit of an understanding of what kind of clothes we're supposed to wear; clothes that cover us. Of course, there are parts that are to be hidden at all times, but that doesn't mean we should all wear big trash bags to hide ourselves in. We are to be covered, though not necessarily from head to toe. There is a big difference between modesty and hiding ourselves. Although, don't you agree that most girls should probably be wearing trash bags instead of the indecent clothes they are wearing today? But, as I have said, there is a big difference. Modesty should be something we study out on our own. If the certain garment is to showy, loud, bold, revealing, tight, or anything that isn't godly, that should be enough about it. It needs to be rid of. Or maybe you are the crafty type. Make it into something that would be modest! That would be a bonus.

Modesty is really a heart issue. If your heart isn't right, you won't wear the right kind of clothes that show you as a Christian lady. Your heart has to be right first and foremost before you can change your wardrobe. After you settle your heart problem, then you can go on to change your wardrobe. A girl can be wearing "modest" clothing, but if her heart isn't in the right spot, you can tell by watching her that she really isn't modest. Just because clothes may cover you fully doesn't mean you are being modest. You have to have the right heart attitude.

Something that is really offensive to a lot of people, even Christians, is the bathing suit. For crying out loud! EVEN to Christians! Do you know just how revealing and immodest those things are? That is just the whole bathing suit. "But, one needs to have something to swim in!" Some people say. "One needs to have garments with room to swim in." My goodness! There is plenty of room, that's for sure! What about a two piece? I'd hate to find out what people would say about those things! Those pieces of trash show off more than anything. Would you step outside in only your undergarments? OF COURSE NOT! But, even those would cover you more than a bikini. I'm shocked at how even Christians tolerate these things! SHOCKED! How can they? We are ambassadors of Christ. We are the Salt and Light. How can one truly be salt and light while at the beach with a bikini on? There is a little bit of a mix-up here! Back in the Bible days, if someone was caught without their outer coat on, they were considered naked and indecent! Their underneath clothes were even more decent than all of the clothes today! There is a MAJOR problem today!

Modesty is something we need to make a comeback to. Only the right heart attitudes will change that.

The Issue of Modesty

"In like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; but (which becometh woman professing godliness) with good works." -1 Timothy 2:9&10

I want to talk a little about modesty - a very delicate issue to most women and girls. Here in 1 Timothy chapter 2, Paul is writing to Timothy about how women should be attired. He said the women should adorn themselves in modest apparel. (clothing) The women shouldn't be concerned about their hair, their jewelry, or expensive clothes. Of course, the LORD wants us to look nice, and present ourselves as imitators of Christ, but He wants us to me modestly attired. True godly women are supposed to be concerned about the work of Christ and the furthering of His kingdom. We are to profess ourselves Christian ladies through our works, not by how "good" we look. When we dress, we are to do it with shamefacedness and sobriety. But, if we don't know that meaning of those words, how can we? Let's see what the definition is.

Websters 1828 dictionary defines them as:
Shamefacedness: Bashfulness; excess of modesty.
Sobriety: Temperance or calmness.
Temperance means moderation, as in excess.

So there are the definitions. In dressing modestly we are not to be bold, but bashful, shy. We are to be moderate, not to excess in our dress. We are not supposed to look for attention to ourselves, but rather, to draw attention to Christ, and the godly woman He has designed us to be.

But, there is something I'd like to point out in these verses. When Paul is talking about braided hair, jewelry, and nice clothes, he is not saying that women are not allowed to wear nice clothes, jewelry, or even makeup. What he wants stressed is that those things are to be used in moderation and shamefacedness - not to go overboard. Jesus Christ Himself wants us to be imitators of Him, and He sure doesn't want us to be slobs. Therefore, we can look nice, dress up a little, wear a moderate amount of makeup to highlight our natural beauty - not cover it up. That is something all women struggle with. The outside looks. If something is wrong, oh man! We are devastated! How we wish we could change that certain thing. But, if we were able to change that one thing, wouldn't there be other things we would want to change as well? Of course. We are human and are filled with flaws. But God made us exactly how He wanted us to be. No changes can be made. Therefore, praise Him for that! He made us beautiful, each of us in our own way. Short, tall, skinny, full, small, big. All are loved by Him. Because of that, shouldn't we give Him the honor by dressing modestly? By wearing things that won't give us glory, but give Him glory? By loving ourselves for who we really are, and not covering our true selves up? I think we should. I myself have struggled with so many things, but by God's grace, I am trying to get on the right track. It isn't easy, especially in this day and age we live in where everything is based on how we look. But in God's word we can find help and comfort. Let us make a new statement today, instead of following the crowd, let's start our own trend, a trend that will make a difference! One that will give God all the honor and show forth the Christian ladies we are supposed to be! To God be all glory and praise forever and ever!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

A Family Outing

Last Wednesday we went to High Falls, a gorgeous park. We had an absolutely fantastic time! What is better than getting the whole family together and going for an outing? Nothing better! Because there are 8 kids in the Brown family, which makes 10 people all together, we have fabulous times together! That particular Wednesday we had decided to visit the park, kinda as a field trip, but mostly as a family tour. That day turned out to be a beautiful day! Terrific weather! We couldn't have asked for better! So, here are a few pictures of our time at High Falls...only a few out of the 342 that I took. =)

On the trails!

Isn't she adorable?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

"Before You Meet Prince Charming"

"Before You Meet Prince Charming" written by Sarah Mally.

"Before you meet Prince Charming." A book title like that would probably catch the eye of most girls. After all, don't we all wait for the day when we will meet our prince? Of course we do. We all wish for the day when our romantic dreams come true and we fall "head over heels in love."

I have news for you - this book, Before You Meet Prince Charming, is not what one might think. Some girls might think, "Oh boy! A guide to tell me what to do while I'm waiting on my prince!" They go on to imagine the things they will have to do to "catch" that prince. Sorry girls! That isn't the point of this book.

Tell you what, I'm going to go through this slowly, chapter by chapter. So hang on here with me. There is a lot to cover.

Chapter 1: Desire the very best marriage. The Best. Everybody wants the best of everything, don't they? We all do. This is what Sarah Mally talks about in the first chapter of her book. Now, I'm not listing her exact words, you'll have to read her book yourself to find that out, but instead I'm writing from my heart - my own feelings and thoughts - although a summarization of what Sarah talks about. So back to the subject. The best. Later on in life we will want the very best marriage.  Sarah asks a very interesting question, one we should all ponder: "Are we willing to wait, and truly desire the best that God can give us?" We all want the best; therefore, we should live like it. We should save ourselves, guard ourselves, wait for the best! Instead, most girls today don't save themselves for the best. Countless boyfriend after boyfriend. If they truly wanted the best they would save everything for their future husband. Think of it this way: every guy that a girl goes out with is really some other girls' future husband. Scary. As Sarah points out, this time now, the time of singleness, when we are young and before marriage, is the "time to prepare." So if we want the very best marriage, we should start preparing RIGHT NOW!

As I end each chapter I'm going to use the verses that Sarah Mally uses at the beginning of her chapters. I think they are very appropriate. "Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to Him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife hath made herself ready." -Revelation 19:7

Chapter 2: Dangers within the dating system. Dating. Just about everybody knows what that entails. A boyfriend, and time spent with him. Now my own added truths: the giving away of yourself, while in the relationship with him you lose the relationships with family members and friends, not saving yourself for the best up ahead, and finally, a broken heart. What dating relationships don't end in a broken heart? Hardly any. Most relationships are broken up. Hardly any last till marriage. Sad, isn't it? Then, even if they do last until marriage, the couples usually aren't "happily married." Most marriages today are in ruin and chaos. (for a good book to read about dating you can read Joshua Harris' book I Kissed Dating Goodbye. Very good read.)

Dating, to most people, is to have fun. Guy goes out with girl, they have some fun, on come more dates! Then, even if they didn't mean for anything to come about, BANG! They are in deeper than they thought. Soon enough, it is not what had been planned in the beginning. Along comes the breakup and scars from past hurts. "Dating is thinking about fun now rather than loyalty to your one lifelong partner and the joy of the best marriage later," Sarah Mally points out. How right she is! In dating, people are only thinking about themselves at the moment - what they want. But that is the wrong attitude. We should be thinking about our future, and using the time now to prepare for that. "This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh." -Galatians 5:16

Chapter 3: Guard your heart. Guarding our hearts can be pretty tough. So what are we supposed to do to keep them pure? How are we supposed to guard our hearts concerning guys? Here are some "important cautions" that Sarah Mally sets forth.
1. Keep the friendship casual. Don't get too friendly with a guy. Keep it at a friendly, casual acquaintance. Being too friendly will give off the wrong signal. Remember, we are guarding our hearts - saving it for later in life.
2. Avoid situations that will breed emotional bonds. We are not to give our hearts away until the right time - God's time. Therefore we should stay away from doing things that could lead into something bigger.
3. Don't seek attention for yourself. True, we all like attention. We're girls. "But think about it - it's purely selfish!" Sarah says. The kind of attention we want isn't right. So don't seek to draw attention to yourself. Instead, we should seek to draw attention to Jesus Christ.
4. Ask your parents for specific guidance. Learn to talk to your parents. They have more wisdom than we give them credit for. They've been through our years - they will understand! We just need to open up to them.
5. Guard your words when you are with friends. A lot of girls are "boy-crazy." Can't even stop talking about "them" for 5 minutes! Be willing to be different. Take a stand. You don't have to follow the crowd. Watch what you say.
6. Avoid influences that pollute your thoughts. Things like movies and television, the Internet, music, books and magazines, all can pollute you. Watch what you read, look at, watch on TV. All can be negative influences. Be careful. Don't do anything that could have the wrong affect on you. "Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life." -Proverbs 4:23

Chapter 4: Could he be the one? What are your qualifications for your future husband? I've already started on a list and have 26 qualifications! I know I'll keep adding more. I'm putting down everything I can think of - from the smallest to the biggest of things. I have already determined to desire the best. What about you? We shouldn't back down and be content with the first one that seems "good." We should only be willing to go for the best. "Be ye not unequally yoked with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness?" -2 Corinthians 6:14

Chapter 5: Romantic dreams. Every girl dreams of her knight in shining armor that will one day rescue her. But too much dreaming distracts us, then we loose sight of a lot of things. Right now we are use our time for Christ and preparing for that one day when we will be married, but if all we do is dream of knights in shining armor, our time will be wasted. This verse is very appropriate: "Finally brethren, whatsoever things are TRUE, whatsoever things are HONEST, whatsoever things are JUST, whatsoever things are PURE, whatsoever things are LOVELY, whatsoever things are of GOOD REPORT, if there be any VIRTUE, and if there be any PRAISE, think on these things." -Philippians 4:8 (emphasis added)

Chapter 6: When God says wait. Waiting is very hard. Everybody struggles with impatience. But in everything, including marriage, God has a plan for us. If he says wait, then we'll have to wait! In that waiting period we can be learning many things: how to become a homemaker, learning what it takes to become a mother, (your mother and other mothers are the only and best help there is) cooking, maybe even sewing! Whatever gifts God has given us is what we should be developing over the waiting period. There is a lot we could be doing instead of moping around, reading romantic novels, and waiting for our prince to HURRY UP AND GET HERE! When God says wait, we had better learn to wait. After all, don't we want the best? "For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly. O LORD of hosts, blessed is the man that trusteth in Thee." -Psalm 84:11-12

Chapter 7: How parents can help. Parents are truly gifts, whether we realize it or not. Our parents have already lived through a lot that we go through. Thus, shouldn't we turn to them for help and guidance? They can help us. God gave us parents for a reason. He knew we would need their help. See, doesn't He supply our every need? "My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways." -Proverbs 23:26

Chapter 8: Have a life purpose bigger than marriage.
This isn't saying that you won't get married. Only God knows what the purpose is for every persons life. He will work everything out to do what He had planned from the beginning. But while we are young, and single, we should spend our time wisely, for the work of Christ and for His glory. After we get married we will have a lot of responsibilities. But before that, we should work diligently for the cause of Christ. Our goal in life is to glorify God. At least, it should be. "What is the chief end of man? Man's chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever." (Question number one in Spurgeon's catechism) We aren't here to make ourselves happy. God set us on this earth for His purpose and to glorify Him. "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you." -Matthew 6:33

Chapter 9: Dreams must die. We hold onto our dreams, hoping that one day they will come true. But rather than holding onto our dreams, we need to surrender them to the Lord.   He is the Maker of heaven and earth, He is all-powerful, He knows down to our very depths. But we still need to talk to Him, to tell Him of our dreams and hopes for the future, then surrender them all to Him. He holds everything in the palm of His hand anyway. We should, and need to desire His will, rather than follow our own desires. "For whosoever will save his life will shall lose it: and whosoever shall lose his life for my sake shall find it." -Matthew 6:25

Chapter 10: Reserves for one. We are to have one husband, right? Therefore, we should act that way. As Sarah Mally says, we are to save our "firsts" for that one. Save everything about us, emotionally and physically, for our one and only future husband. We all have a gift - ourselves - to give away or keep until the right time. Will we save our "firsts" for the one, treasure that gift until we can give it whole and pure to our future husband, or do we want to have nothing to give? I for one want to save and cherish that gift, to be able to give it to my husband. "For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: that every one of you should know how to posses his vessel in sanctification and honor." -1 Thessalonians 4:3-4

Chapter 11: Delighting in the LORD. We all want love, but do all of us know that we already have it? Jesus Christ gave Himself for us. He died upon the cross for our sins. He loves us "deeply with an everlasting love." "Few understand that our greatest joy in life will come from fulfilling that purpose for which we were created: having fellowship with our Creator and glorifying Him." Sarah says. Before we can truly be ready for marriage, we have to know the real understanding of delighting in the Lord.   We have to first fall in love with Him. "Delight thyself also in the LORD; and He will give thee the desires of thine heart." -Psalm 37:4

Chapter 12: Know that God arranges marriages. God has a plan for every person! Isn't that wonderful? That alone should give us assurance. We don't have to worry then. All we have to do is "trust in the Lord."  He will give us the desires of our hearts. So, if God has a plan for each of us won't He make that plan come to pass? Doesn't that make you think He cares for us? I certainly think that. Wait upon the Lord.  He loves us. He knows what is going to happen tomorrow as well as 5 years from now. Just be patient - everything that God has willed will come to pass. So right now, we are to prepare. Preparing for those days in the future, that only God knows about. Now is the time to prepare. "Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, unto Him be glory in the Church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen." -Ephesians 3: 20-21

So there it is. I don't know if you lasted throughout all that with me or not, but I'm hoping. To get a better understanding, you'll have to read the book. I just did a little bit of summarizing. Even then, I didn't cover half of what is talked about in the book. I'd really encourage the reading of Before You Meet Prince Charming, by Sarah Mally. It will be very beneficial, as well as fun to read. A book can't get better than that, can it?