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Saturday, January 31, 2015

Headcovering testimony of Sister Jessica


beautiful Arizona sky

One of the best blessings which headcovering practice has brought into my life is the intimacy and closeness in relationships.When I say relationships, it includes both divine and human sphere. Well, when I first started blogging about my beliefs and practices of headcovering, modest dress etc in Japanese, I had felt quite alone. I felt I was exactly like that lone dancer whom Bro. Jeremy Gardiner mentioned in his excellent essay entitled Will you stand alone? A call to be the first to cover(here)

Oh,but ladies, it was worth enduring it, seeing what God has granted me right now! Sweet and intimate friendship with sisters across the globe! Jessica (USA), Irina (Russia/Canada), Sanae (Japan) and Caro (France) are among those who have become my cherished and very important friends. I also have covering sisters in Pennsylvania who have always been my inspiration and help. 

Today, I am going to post Jessica's headcovering testimony entitled Faithful Over a Few Things. Among 3000 congregation members, she is the only one who covers!How courageous she is! Do you want to know what made her decide to take such a bold step? Now let us all incline our ear to her story.



                                                        Faithful Over a Few Things 
                                                          by Sister Jessica Roldan

There was a time when I thought that headcovering did not apply to us as Christians today. I had heard many times that only the Corinthian women of the first century were supposed to use a headcovering while praying or prophesying (sharing the Word of God with others). So, every time I came to the section of Scripture that talks about this (1 Corinthians 11:1-16) in my personal reading, I brushed past it, and moved quickly on to the next part. But, I always felt uneasy about this Bible text: was it for today? 

Then, I read an article another Christian lady had written on her blog, entitled “Should Christian Women Cover Their Heads?” I was intrigued. She recommended several books on this subject, and I read them all. I pondered deeply the 1 Corinthians 11:1-16 passage. Then came the moment, when I knew for sure that the headcovering ordinance was actually a command meant for everybody, everywhere, in all time. It was so clear to me, that I knew I had to obey immediately, or be in danger of sinning against God. The Bible says this:

“He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.” 1 John 2:4-5

And also:

“Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” James 4:17

After getting approval first from my husband, I searched through my drawers for something I could use to cover my head, and found a few long, rectangular scarves. I wasn't sure if I was going to cover full-time, or strictly while at church, praying, reading the Bible, and teaching it to my children. But I had to start. Right away.

My first test came immediately. At that time of year, we were about to celebrate a very big holiday, where lots of people gather together. Couldn't I begin to use the headcovering after the holiday was over? It would be so embarrassing for all those people to see me! But, if I did not keep God's commandment, I would be a liar, and would demonstrate that the truth was not in me. I would be sinning. How unbearable that would be! So, I determined that I would wear my scarf, no matter how uncomfortable it made me feel.

On that occasion, nobody said anything to me, though I knew they were curious. It wasn't until afterward, that someone who had been at that holiday gathering, confronted me about it, and it was horrible! This person marched angrily up to me, and without even asking me how I was, or giving me any sort of polite greeting, said, “Why are you wearing that on your head? Why are you trying to be saved by works?” Struck with such a blow, I couldn't answer right away. 

But then, I attempted to reply, “Headcovering isn't an Old Testament command, but is found in the New Testament. I know that works can't save, and that's not why I'm doing this--” But I was sharply cut off and not given a chance to continue. After ranting for several minutes, this person turned abruptly around, and huffed off without even saying goodbye. I was so shocked, and so sad! Was this how it was going to be for me as I obeyed God by headcovering?

So far, that episode has been unique, and has not been repeated, neither by that person, nor by anybody else. However, I still find headcovering a struggle. I want to be normal! I don't want to look weird! But when it comes down to it, I'd rather be considered strange by other people, than grieve the heart of my Father with disobedience to His command. 

And I don't use a headcovering to try to earn my salvation; I trust only in Jesus' righteousness, and not my own! “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth … For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:4, 10). I cover my head out of obedience to God, because I love Him, and want to please Him even in the “small” things.

How small is too small? Is a little step of obedience inconsequential because it's a footstep and not a giant leap? How can we say, “God, I will only obey you in the 'big stuff' but keep Your hands off all the minor things—those tiny selfish indulgences that I retain for myself—don't touch!”? 

Should we not rather be willing to give over to God everything, the big along with the little? So, I should be willing both to proclaim God to others by telling about the salvation He offers to them through Jesus Christ, and to proclaim my submission to His order by wearing a headcovering. I long to hear from my Lord:

“...Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” Matthew 25:21

Yes, I appear unusual to some. There will be those who disapprove, and look down on me. Some will misunderstand me, and think I am being legalistic. Others will label me as “prideful” and “attention-seeking.” But did not Jesus Himself suffer reproach? I can take it! I will be strong, and not give up! I will focus on the blessings, instead of the hardships! Here are a few of those blessings:

  1. Humbleness. Covering up my “glory” (my hair) develops a spirit of humility, as opposed to vanity.

     
  2. Meekness. Constantly carrying the symbol of submission on my head disrupts any temptation to argue with my husband. Instead, I am reminded to be mild and to peacefully retreat in a disagreement.
  3. Reverence. Accompanied by the “ceremony” of placing a cloth on my head, Bible study and prayer is graced with a beautiful solemnity and gravity.
  4. Perseverance. Swimming upstream develops muscles! My spiritual “muscles” are being strengthened as I am forced to confront an unsympathetic public.
  5. Femaleness. Highlighting the distinction between my husband and I by wearing a headcovering, raises into sharp relief my femininity. The woman in me blossoms and softens as I relax into my proper role, and allow my husband to take charge.
There may be many more blessings that I have not listed, but that are waiting to be discovered as I continue to obey the headcovering ordinance! What about you? Could you be brave enough to find out what blessings God is holding in His hand for you, waiting to open up His palm at that moment when you decide to say “Yes” to Him? Or maybe you have already taken that first step of obedience: will you continue steadfastly and not give up? Perhaps you will be an encouragement to me, when I hear of your courage and unmovable obedience!

Lord, may we be willing to surrender every little thing to You. Help us to be faithful over a few things, and not despise them because of their seeming unimportance. Prepare us for greater responsibilities through our obedience in the simple task of wearing a headcovering. And fill us with joy as we keep our eyes trained on You! Amen.

Her blog is here

p.s. This headcovering testimony was translated and published in Japanese as well (here.) Do you have any Japanese friends whom you want to share your faith and beliefs? If so, you can introduce this article to them.



Tuesday, January 27, 2015

A word of comfort for sisters who are under trials and difficulties


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Dear sister, are you suffering? Do you feel that you are in a barren land all alone? Are you under severe pressures? Do you feel nobody really cares for you? Do you feel that your cross is so heavy that you cannot bear it anymore?

Recently I received so much consolation from reading an article about Leah, a less-loved-wife of Jacob in the book of Genesis. Her life was full of sorrows and trials. Out of her desire to gain love from her husband, she bore 6 boys and a girl, but only in vain. She suffered from inferiority complex toward her beautiful younger sister Rachel. Her children has always been the source of her anxiety.

Here the author asked the following questions to the readers;

"Was the Lord indifferent to the life of Leah? Is our God unfair?"

What do you think, sisters? Was He indifferent to Leah and much more interested in Rachel? When we face difficulties or see our beloved ones suffer, we sometimes wonder why God allowed it to happen. I know one refugee woman here. Her husband is a drug addict and she had to sleep in the park with her little children several times. To make the matters worse, her 6-year-old son became critically ill last week and has been hospitalized since.

So let's go back to our questions; Is our God unfair? Is He indifferent to the life of Leah? Does He really care about our lives? I believe that our fundamental happiness depends on our response to these questions. Please hear what the author tells us;

"No, God is not unfair. Rather, our Righteous God had been preparing the plan of the salvation for humankind through the very life of Leah. Indeed, He had a plan to send Messiah to the sin-ridden world through Judah, the fourth son of Leah (Itaru Miyasaka, Series 7th, Life of Leah the Wife of Jacob. Original source here)".

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And he continues to encourage us as follows;

"Like Leah, we might not be able to receive enough love from those we desperately desire to be loved. Or we might receive indescribable sufferings from our beloved ones. Or our lives might come to the end without getting any earthly reward. Still,,but, still, the most noble, pure and perpetual love of God through Jesus Christ, has been poring into the heart of this soul like an unceasing river".

This is my sincere prayer that the God of Leah who granted her everlasting honor and heritage would grant you peace and comfort in the midst of current trials and difficulties.

O Father please comfort her and give her inner strength to endure her cross. Please send helpers and let her taste You love through them. If she is dealing with a difficult person, please fill her with Christ-like love and give her final victory. If she is suffering loneliness right now, please give us opportunities to make friends with her. I pray in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.




Sunday, January 25, 2015

A godly maiden in the modern-day France―let us all encourage Caroline ardently!



Sisters, have you noticed that the Spirit of God is currently working and inviting god-fearing maidens from all parts of the world? This spiritual move is like a rapid torrent.

Regarding this, my friend Jessica told me as follows;

"I was stuck by how many women (and men) are suddenly hearing God’s voice speak to them about the covering command. For sure, we are sometimes far apart geographically, but are being called by the omnipresent Spirit of God at the same time! "

Today, I’d like to share with you the great encounter which God provided for me last week. As I was reading sister Tessa’s blog, one particular comment caught my attention.

A young maiden called Caroline from France had left a message, asking Tessa to give her permission to translate her testimony into French. From the content, I could sense that she was a serious Bible-believing Christian.

“A Bible-believing sister in the modern-day France? Lord, is it possible?” I was stunned. And then I was overjoyed.

Now I have lived in Europe for nearly ten years and I have seen the unfortunate spiritual depravity and indifference in the hearts of many European people. Historically speaking, ever since Paul planted the seed of the Gospel in Europe, it had been the spiritual center of Biblical Christianity. Many sincere prayers had been offered to heaven from the closets, kitchens, dungeons and forests. Many young missionaries had sailed for heathen lands and toiled for the sake of Christ and for the unsaved souls.

Then, what happened to Europe? It seems to me that people are much more interested in oriental religions, self-enlightenment, energy, yoga and new-age occults. They are very tolerant toward any kinds of religions and philosophies except the simple Gospel of Jesus Christ. There is a great intolerance and rejection toward Jesus Christ in the midst of  this “tolerant” society.

Jesus told us that “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head (Luke 9:58)”. Sadly, even today, He does not have a place to sleep nor rest because the hearts of the people are firmly shut toward Jesus. He is still looking for responsive hearts which welcome Jesus and lodge Him in their hearts.

But then I found a French sister called Caroline who dedicated herself to the Lord and made her heart a lovely, warm place for Jesus to lodge.

I wrote to her and started to correspond with each other. The more I’ve got to know her, the more I was impressed by her sincerity and her single-mindedness. Out of her passion to glorify Him by the way she dress, she started to open the site in French. (You can read her modest dress testimony here. You can read it in English by clicking google translation sign.)

She shared with me that she has been ridiculed from time to time because of her serious attitude about the dress and Christian living. Some people thought she was weird. No, Caroline, you are not weird. Your heart attitude and your dedication are so beautiful and worthy in the eyes of God.

We are your fellow pilgrims who share the same convictions and we would not let you feel alone. We will all support you and stand by you. The Kingdom of God is for those of you who have pure hearts and child-like simplicity.

Sisters, shall we all pray for our sister Caroline tomorrow? (On Monday, 26th Jan.; the day of prayer for headcovering sisters.) She started to cover her head quite recently and she needs our encouragement and support, for she is in the unsupportive environment. Let us visit her French blog and leave some lovely comments!

Also, let’s pray for the spiritual refreshment and restoration of the French speaking people. O Lord, rekindle the light which used to be twinkling like countless stars in the hearts of French souls! Please use Caroline’s blog for stirring up young maidens toward modesty, chastity and holy living for our Lord Jesus Christ. Let Thy Kingdom come in the midst of French-speaking people.

Lastly I will quote a spiritual poem of Therese of Lisieux (1873-1897), a French holy woman who is known as "The Little Flower of Jesus."

To live of love, 'tis by Thy life to live,
O glorious King, my chosen, sole Delight!
Hid in the Host, how often
Thou dost give Thyself to those who seek
Thy radiant light.

Then hid shall be my life, unmarked, unknown,
That I may have Thee heart to heart with me;
For loving souls desire to be alone,
With love, and Thee!
         -Therese of Lisieux-

Caroline's blog is here.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

What shall we do when we are struck by the fear of man?





The Bible says, "The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD shall be safe (Prov 29:25)."

Dear sisters, today, I’d like to ask you how you have overcome the fear of man. What do you do when you are struck by the fear of man? Do you have any particular Bible verse or devotional book which would help you to overcome this issue? Do you know any prayers which are uplifting?

Why do I ask these questions? Because sometimes, the fear of man bothers me. And I feel like I am a trembling hamster. I long for acceptance and dread rejection. Although I know that the way we have chosen is not a popular way but still I am craving for peoples’ recognition and acceptance from time to time. A part of my self has not been crucified yet and it is dreadfully afraid of the place of Golgotha.

O Lord, I will confess my weakness. Often it is a small thing that makes me downcast and sad. I propose to act bravely, but when even a small temptation comes I find myself in great straits. When I think myself somewhat safe and when I am not expecting it, I frequently find myself almost overcome by a slight wind. Look, therefore, Lord, at my lowliness and frailty which You know so well. Have mercy on me and snatch me out of the mire that I may not be caught in it and may not remain forever utterly despondent. (Imitation of Christ, Part 3, chapter 20)


Oh, how I want to live in strength! How I want to sit at the feet of Jesus and be faithful to Him in good times and in bad times. I want to be hidden with Christ in God (Col 3:3).

As I was composing this post, I remember the spiritual poem of Ms. Margaret E. Barber, a British missionary to China who influenced Watchman Nee. It is a very deep poem which reflects her profound faith.

Buried

Buried? Yes, but it is seed
From which continents may feed;
Millions yet may bless the day
When that seed was laid away.

Buried! Hidden! Out of sight!

Dwelling in the deepest night;
Losing, underneath the sod,
Everything, except its God.

Buried, unremembered, lost
So thinks man: but all the cost
God has counted to display
Life abundant one glad day

Are thou buried?

God’s pure seed
Doth thy heart in silence bleed?

Change thy sighing into song.
Thus alone can harvests come

Dear sisters, please share with me freely and give me your spiritual tips! Thank you.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

A woman of mild spirit





One of the attributes which God has granted female is mildness. Like sweet spring water, mild and soft-hearted person gives comfort and peace to those around her.

Sister Celeste is such a sister in Christ. I saw her video testimony, and I was drawn to her immediately. Her tender and serene facial expression, her way of speaking, her considerate and sensitive heart toward others all gave me strong impression that she is a woman of God.

Hearing and reading the testimony of godly sisters help us to draw nearer to God. I’d like to grow in faith daily and want to learn from you, my dear sisters.

Here is a beautiful poem which Mrs.Rosalind (1864-1942), the late Canadian missionary to China and a wife of Jonathan Goforth composed;

Call Back

If you have gone a little way ahead of me, call back;
‘Twill cheer my heart and help my feet along the stony track.

And if, perchance, Faith’s light is dim, because the oil is low,
Your call will guide my lagging course as wearily I go.

Call back, and tell me that He went with you into the storm,
Call back, and say He kept you when the forest’s roots were torn;

That when the heavens thundered and the earthquake shook the hill,
He bore you up and held you where the very air was still. 

O friend, call back and tell me, for I cannot see your face; 
They say it glows with triumph, and your feet bound in the race; 

But there are mists between us, and my spirit eyes are dim, 
And I cannot see the glory, though I long for word of Him. 

But if you'll say He heard you when your prayer was but a cry, 
And if you'll say He saw through the night's sin-darkened sky. 

If you have gone a little way ahead, O friend, call back
'Twill cheer my heart and help my feet along the stony track.
                                       -Climbing, Rosalind Goforth


So, let us incline our ear to our godly sister. 


Monday, January 19, 2015

Let us tenderly and reverently call Jesus, our heavenly bridegroom




Our modern society has lost a sense of respect and reverence. National leaders are mocked, pastors are mocked, and fathers are mocked and disrespected.

But the saddest reality of the 21st century is that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ is openly and shamelessly mocked worldwide.

Some years ago, I encountered one Buddhist lady and we chatted in English. What made me shocked was that this Asian lady, being totally ignorant of Christianity, kept saying “Oh, Jesus Christ!” whenever she wanted to express her disgusted feelings. 

It was obvious that she had learned this kind of bad usage from Hollywood movies. She might have thought it was "cool" if she used this expression because it could impress others that her English was excellent and sounded natural like native speakers.

Oh, what a tragedy! The name of our heavenly bridegroom is being mocked not only by Christians but also by the mouth of gentiles. He was a Man of sorrow (Isa 53:3) and still is a Man of sorrow. He was despised and He is being despised.

Dear sisters, mothers, grandmothers, let us all stand up for Jesus with holy flame. Let us tenderly, affectionately and reverently call His name in our inner sanctum. Let us sanctify His name by our pure words and actions. O Father, let people esteem Thy Son by seeing our reverent attitude toward Him.

Though high above all praise,
Above all blessing high,
Who would not fear his Holy name,
And laud and magnify?

Stand up and bless the Lord,
The Lord your God adore;
Stand up, and bless His glorious name
Henceforth for evermore.   –James Montgomery, 1824

Sunday, January 18, 2015

有关蒙头/蒙頭(哥林多前第11章)- 亲爱的中国,台湾,新加坡姐妹! 热烈欢迎.


Dear Christian ladies in the Chinese-speaking world,

"A warm welcome" in Chinese characters. Right: Traditional Chinese. Left: Simplified Chinese

Hello. Thank you so much for visiting my blog. I am a Japanese sister in Christ and your neighbor. In this post, I’d like to share with you one article about Christian Headcovering (1 Conrinthians 11) in Chinese.

But before that, please allow me to tell you about my personal story.

Some years ago, when I was sitting in the university cafeteria, one Chinese lady came with her lunch plate and sat in front of me. And we started to converse. Then, I don’t remember how but somehow the topic moved to a war time issue. When I told her how I felt sorry and asked her forgiveness, suddenly she burst out crying. And she sobbed out her inner turmoil and told me as follows;

Thank you for telling me this. Actually,,,I have hated, hated and hated Japanese all my life. I have hated everything about Japan. I have hated any product which was made in Japan and I never bought one. All of my friends hate Japan as well. And I had so much difficulty in forgiving you…but now, when I heard your word, something has changed in my heart and I feel lighter now.

Her teary confession has been in my heart since then. I prayed to God, “Lord, I believe it was You who showed me the pain and wounds of our neighbors through her. I feel so sorry. Lord, please do not let me leave this earth without doing something good to them. How can I soothe their suffering hearts? I want to be their good neighbor. Please guide me and show me the way.”

So it has always been in my heart to communicate with you and make friends with you. Actually, I am practicing Christian headcovering which is commanded in 1 Corinthians 11 as well and I have been receiving so many spiritual blessings. And it is a great joy to share these blessings with you.

If you read simplified Chinese please click here  (有关蒙的迷思)
If you read traditional Chinese please click here  (有關蒙頭的迷思)

Saturday, January 17, 2015

I’ve found an Asian headcovering sister! Thank you, sisters, for praying with me.



Last Monday, as you remember, I offered a humble prayer for our headcovering sisters (here). And inside this, I also prayed for Asian sisters as follows;

Lord, I haven’t heard many headcovering testimonies from Asian region so far, where my earthly homeland is located. I long to see and interact with other Asian covering sisters as well. Please raise up headcovering sisters in the nations such as China, Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Philippines, Taiwan, Mongolia, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia and so on. Please guide me to find them and guide them to find me! My heart is open for them.

Sisters, guess what happened? Within just a few hours after publishing this prayer, I received an email from one sister in Japan! She has made a tremendous effort to find my contact address and wrote to me. O I could hardly contain my joy when I read her testimony. She told me that our headcovering testimonies inspired her and she decided to cover her head as well. And after some hesitation, she finally decided to contact with me, because she wanted to let me know that our prayers were being answered!

This was absolutely awesome! Dear North American covering sisters, please take heart. The head covering movement is not a regional, small phenomenon. No, as you see us, it is a global, trans-cultural and universal recovery movement! The Bible is true and eternal. And Jesus’ words endure forever.

Now the Spirit of Truth is working and inviting maidens from the four corners of the earth.

Jesus with love still is seeking
For hearts that are aflame,
To make their lives an off’ring
Inspired by love for Him   -B.Shlink

Sisters, let us continue to pray for each other and for our future covering ladies who are to join us and inherit this incredible heavenly treasure together.

                          (Instrumental hymn Sweet hour of prayer, William W. Walford, 1845)