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Saturday, June 30, 2018

Women Driving in Saudi Arabia: What Next?

For the first time, women in Saudi Arabia can get legal drivers licenses and drive cars. (I'm sincerely hoping they actually had some kind of training beforehand.) It's billed as a breakthrough for women, a first step towards liberation. I heard on the news it's the last country in the world to allow women to drive. Interesting.

I believe the next battleground for Saudi women will be clothing, but this is more difficult, as the law is tied to Sharia Law, and it isn't a preference privilege, like driving.  "It is the law in Saudi Arabia for expat women to wear an abaya when they are out in public. The abaya should cover their everyday clothing. EW (Expat Women) recommends that women wear respectable clothing under their abaya in the form of a long loose-fitting skirt or trousers and a top that covers the shoulders and midriff."1 The abaya is the long, black cloak that covers the entire shape of the body. For centuries, women in Saudi Arabia have not only worn the black abaya, but also head and face coverings. According to Sharia Law, the only parts of a woman that may be seen in public are her hands and eyes. In practice, some parts of Islamic countries vary in how much of a woman's face may be seen.

I think it is interesting how the rest of the world has adapted the traditional clothing. Some adhere strictly, and in other places, except for the hijab (head/neck covering), you would hardly notice the woman was Muslim at all. We see colors, wraps of different lengths, and even slacks paired with slightly longer tops. Others wear a coatlike garment with long sleeves. And, Muslim women seem happy to wear these clothes, which express their faith and modesty.

Will there be a revolt about clothing? I think it will come. It may begin with wearing colors besides black and then move to something different. It will probably be a trickle, but, like the driving debate, things will eventually change. Societal norms, like asking a male relative for permission to do things—or needing him to accompany—will be challenged as well.

Women always want to break free.

It began in the Garden of Eden, and it has continued down through the centuries since. My grandfather used to tell me about the suffragettes marching and their protests for the freedom to vote. Later, women marched for equal rights and equal pay for equal work, and the freedom to work at whatever they choose. They protested the Miss America pageant in the 1960s, and today, they're protesting sexual harrassment in the Me Too movement. Now, women all over the world march for the freedom to kill their own unborn children under the banner of "my choice." 

What is women's freedom, anyway?

God made a woman separate from man and different from him. She was made with a role—to help and complement, and yes, she was given to Adam as his wife and charged with the tasks of helping him rule over creation and given the privilege of motherhood. She became the first wife and mother, and she was equal in value with her husband—though their roles from the very beginning were different.

When Eve sinned, (we don't know how many days or years they lived in sinlessness), she encouraged her husband to sin with her, which he did. God held Adam responsible, as he was the head of the family. God also questioned Eve, who blamed the serpent. All of the course of history was changed because of sin.

So, what does this have to do with Saudi women driving?


It is so important in the day we're in to be for biblical freedoms and biblical roles.

Let's celebrate the fact that Saudi women can finally drive. There's nothing wrong with that at all.

And, Christian women everywhere need to examine our own actions and personal calls for freedom in the light of the Word of God.
  • Let them praise the name of the LORD: for he commanded, and they were created (Psalm 148:5).
  • Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him (Isaiah 43:7).
  • To women: Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price (1 Peter 3:3-4).
  • But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear (1 Peter 3:15).

What freedom does God give to Christian women? Freedom in Him. Freedom from sin. Freedom to know that God is our guide and that His Word can take us by the hand.

Seek Jesus.

Have real freedom.

Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him,
If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;
And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
(John 8:31-32)


Monday, June 25, 2018

Just Say Thank You

If I had a dollar for every time I’d sent an email that wasn’t acknowledged or did a favor for someone who didn’t express a word of gratitude, I’d be a rich woman today. Alas ….

I am sure part of the problem is the busy lives we live. Another is that parents aren’t teaching their children manners. And, another part of the problem is plain old ungratefulness. People just aren’t thankful—they don’t even notice a favor when they see one.

My husband and I are in ministry, and we do things for people all the time. Many just expect kindnesses and favors. I guess they think it’s our job. (And, they’d be right.)

So, this post is three-fold:
  1. It’s a reminder to acknowledge when people do things for you—however small. Just say thank you.
  2. If you have children at home, teach them to say thank you, write thank-you notes, and be grateful.
  3. It’s also a reminder never to expect thanks. If you don’t expect people to say thank you, you’ll be pleased when someone does. And, the rest of the time, you won’t sweat it. Just do good to others. It’s the Christian way.

Here are a few Bible verses on the subject:
  • Be ye thankful (Colossians 3:15b).
  • Paul gave thanks to those who helped him. Ye also helping together by prayer for us, that for the gift bestowed upon us by the means of many persons thanks may be given by many on our behalf (2 Corinthians 1:11).
  • Jesus said, For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them. And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same. And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful (Luke 6:32-36).

The mind of Jesus is thankfulness. He thanked God in His prayers.

It’s interesting that praise and thankfulness are the antidote for sin and anxiety.
  • But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks (Ephesians 5:3-4).
  • Be careful (anxious, full of care) for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6-7).

For the Christian, thankfulness is a lifestyle.
  • Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ (Ephesians 5:20).
  • And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him (Colossians 3:17).
  • By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name (Hebrews 13:15).

Be thankful. 
Show your appreciation. 
Acknowledge anything that’s done for you. 

It’s God’s will.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

The Greatest Hypocrisy: Cruelty to Animals and People

In the United Kingdom, animal cruelty (defined as neglect) could bring up to five years in prison for the animal’s owner. Neglect is defined as not providing food, water, and care.

In the same country a couple of months ago, a little boy named Alfie was taken off of his breathing machine. He miraculously breathed on his own. But, the courts ruled that what was best for Alfie was for him to die. They ruled he could not be fed or provided with water—until he died. Now Alfie was a sick little boy. He was “incurable.” The Italian government and the Vatican volunteered to have him flown to Italy to try a different treatment. The U. K. courts voted no, that the best thing for this precious little boy would be for him to die—to be starved to death. He passed away a few days later, in April of this year.

That same ruling took Terri Schaivo’s life in the United States, in 2005. In many countries in the world, a physician may actively end the life of an elderly person by withholding food and water—with or without family consent.

It’s considered animal cruelty to do the same thing to a dog or a cat or an elephant, but if it’s a human baby, a man or woman in vegetative state, or an elderly person, it’s somehow acceptable. And, by health care professionals!

The Hippocratic Oath that doctors swear to says, “I will apply dietetic measures for the benefit of the sick according to my ability and judgment; I will keep them from harm and injustice. I will neither give a deadly drug to anybody who asked for it, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect. Similarly I will not give to a woman an abortive remedy. In purity and holiness I will guard my life and my art.”

A doctor’s job is, to the best of his ability, to keep his patients from harm. To aid them. No abortions, no physician assisted suicides, and no withholding of nutrients or water.

My heart grieves that Alfie’s parents had no choice in their son’s life. My heart grieves that society cares less for children than it does for cats, dogs, horses, and goats. I’m especially concerned about euthanasia for the elderly and abortion and doctor assisted suicides. Where will it end, now that it has begun?

God cares about the animals.
  • Thou shalt not muzzle the ox when he treadeth out the corn (Deuteronomy 25:4).
  • He giveth to the beast his food, and to the young ravens which cry (Psalm 147:9).
  • A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast: but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel (Proverbs 12:10).
  • Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds (Proverbs 27:23).

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus taught: Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you (Matthew 6:26, 31-33). God cares about little birds. He cares much more for people.

There are some clear Bible principles we’d do well to heed:
  • Thou shalt not kill (Exodus 20:13).
  • Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it (Proverbs 3:27).
  • The merciful man doeth good to his own soul: but he that is cruel troubleth his own flesh (Proverbs 11:17).

I don’t know what can be done on the world stage, but here’s one blog post in protest for these killings.

Life is precious.

Life belongs to God.

No one should be actively killed.

It’s cruelty to starve someone to death.

It’s just plain wrong.

Friday, June 15, 2018

The Image

When God created the first man and woman, He made them in His image. That means they had the unique capacity to communicate and abide with God. We call this part of mankind the soul.

Sadly, man chose to sin, all of creation was cursed because of it, and even the first siblings became murderer and victim. Man was still made in God’s image, but He was soiled. He was cursed.

Thankfully, God in His omniscience knew this would happen, and even before the creation of the world, salvation had been planned—so that people could be restored and become His image bearers. Even after sin.

The first image of God is Jesus. Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature (Colossians 1:15).

I believe this is why it’s such an offence to God—the Bible calls it an abomination—to manufacture an image and honor or worship it. The second of the Ten Commandments says, Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them (Exodus 20:4-5a). God is the only Person that deserves our reverence.

Jesus, the Image of God, came to save sinners. Everyone in the whole world is a sinner, and Jesus came to enlighten our souls with the gospel of His payment for sin and give us everlasting life. Unfortunately, the forces of evil have been at work, as well. The god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them (2 Corinthians 4:4). Thankfully, Jesus is greater than anything else, and He is willing and ready to save. For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost (Luke 19:10).

For those who know Jesus, the beautiful circle continues. Christians are grow in conformity to the image of Christ. Here are a few verses about this:
  • For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren (Romans 8:29).
  • And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly (1 Corinthians 15:49).
  • But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord (2 Corinthians 3:18).
  • And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him (Colossians 3:10).

Forgiveness through Jesus makes us whole again—almost as if we were the original people before sin—and gives us free access to God and the wonderful privilege of being transformed by the Holy Spirit into His image.

Isn’t that amazing? I think so.


Bible references in order: man in God’s image: Genesis 1:26-27; sin and the curse: 3:16-19; salvation planned before creation: 1 Peter 1:19-20; Jesus is God’s Image: Colossians 1:13-15. Others have references with them.