Saturday, June 4, 2022

Jael

Photo courtesy of Akn on Unsplash

                    Judges 4-5

 With Heber, severed from my kin,
        In wild and distant lands,
My husband’s friends I welcome in
        And serve with willing hands.

Content to lead a peaceful life,
        Though far from all I’ve known—
Til from the men I heard of strife
        That chilled me to the bone.

For Israel, with whom we dwell,
        Is turning to the Lord,
But Sisera, their faith to quell,
        Was taking up his sword.

Conflicted, inner war I waged
        With all that’s dear to me;
While soldiers in the battle raged,
        I chose my loyalty.

Though with the armies of the land,
        I don’t expect a part,
With Moses and his God to stand
        Was settled in my heart.

As Sisera from battle fled,
        I bid him be my guest;
With milk and butter richly fed,
        He wearily took rest.

He didn’t know my quiet soul
        Hid rugged strength of mind,
Or that my God-appointed role
        Was of a lethal kind.

The unsuspecting general slept
        And bid me watch the door,
But with my tools I softly crept
        And nailed him to the floor.

His wicked ways I couldn’t brook;
        I used what chance I had
To slay the terrifying crook
        And make God’s people glad.

Now some may think my methods wrong;
        My deed they can’t applaud,
But blessed am I in Deborah’s song—
        And honored of my God.


Saturday, November 13, 2021

Wool Diaper Cover

 


One of my sons lives in an area where he has little need for wool hats and slippers, but last year I found something fun to knit for his kids: A wool diaper cover. My daughter-in-law loves them. But she asked for some that would be easier to get off when soiled.  As much as possible, I wanted to keep the smooth design of the pull-up diaper covers. I modified a pattern found online, but unfortunately I can't find the original again to link to it. Here is the basic idea of the middle sizes:

Materials: 2 oz Worsted weight wool, Needles size 4 and 6

Cast on 64 (68,72) stitches using worsted wool on size 4 needles.

Slip first stitch of every row.
Work 4 stitches garter stitch at each end of every row.
Work buttonhole in 5th row by binding off 3rd and 4th stitches from each end.

Start at Back Waist

Back Waist and Bum

Row 1: Sl 1, K4, 2x2 Rib to last 5 stitches. K5

Row 2-4: Repeat row 1.

Row 5: [Buttonhole row] Sl 1, K2, BO 2, Rib to last 5 stitches, BO 2, K3 [Or work one row button hole]

Row 6: Sl 1, K2, CO2, rib to last 5 stitches, CO2, K 3

Row 7-8: Repeat Row 1.

For Large, Continue ribbing for 4 more rows (12 rows)

Switch to size 6 needles and stockinette stitch.

Work Back Bum:

Row 1: Sl 1, K18, PM, K 26 (28, 34) PM, K19

Row 2: Sl 1, K4, P to last 5 stitches, K5

Row 3: [Short row] Sl 1, K to second marker, wrap and turn

Row 4: [Short row] P to marker, wrap and turn

Row 5: K across, picking up wrap as you knit

Row 6: Sl 1, K 4, P across, picking up wrap as you purl, K last 5 stitches

Continue in stockinette stitch with garter border for 23, (27, 31) rows.

Work buttonholes on each side of one more row for small (Row 17) and medium (Row 20.)
For large, work two buttonhole rows every 6 ridges.

AT THE SAME TIME

Work more short rows as on rows 3 and 4 as follows:

SMALL: Rows 11-14, 19-22

MEDIUM: Rows 13-16, 23-26

LARGE: Rows 11-14, 19-22, 27-30

After last short row is completed, Decrease for Legs

Row 23 (27, 31): Sl 1 SSK 4 times, K til 9 stitches remain, K2 tog 4 times, K1

Row 24 (28, 32): Sl 1, K4, P to last 5 stitches, K5

Row 25 (29, 33): [Short row] Sl 1, SSK, K to 2 stitches before second marker, wrap and turn

Row 26 (30, 34): [Short row] P to  2 stitches before marker, wrap and turn

Row 27 (31, 35): K to last 3 stitches, picking up wrap as you knit, K2 tog, K1

Row 28 (32, 36): Sl 1, K 4, P to last 5 stitches, picking up wrap as you purl, K5

Row 29 (33, 37): Sl 1, SSK, K to last 3 stitches, K2 tog, K1

Row 30 (34, 38): Sl 1, K4, P to last 5 stitches, K5

Row 31 (35, 39): Sl 1, SSK, K to marker, K2 P2 ribbing to next marker, K to last 3 stitches, K2 tog, K1

Row 32 (36, 40): Sl 1, K4, p to marker, P2 K2 ribbing to next marker, P to last 5 stitches, K5

Repeat last two rows until 28 (32, 36) stitches remain, maintaining pattern but removing markers as needed. 

Between Legs

Right side rows: Sl K4, K2 P2 to last 5 stitches, K5

Wrong side rows: Sl 1, K4, P2 K2 to last 5 stitches, K5

Work these two rows until piece measures 9" (10.5, 11.5") from mid back.

Increase for Front 

Right side: Sl 1, M1, K3, K to start of ribbing, K2 P2 to last 5 stitches, K4, M1, K1

Wrong side rows:  Sl 1, K4, P to start of ribbing, P2 K2 to end of ribbing, P to last 5 stitches, K5

Repeat these two rows 4 times, then switch to stockinette:

Right side: Sl 1 K across

Wrong side rows:  Sl 1, K4, P to last 5 stitches, K5

Work until piece measures 13" (15, 16.5") 

Switch to smaller needles and ribbing:

8 (8, 12) Rows: Sl K4, rib to last 5 stitches, K5

Bind off using larger needles. Sew buttons to front. On some I added extra buttons for more sizing options. This was purely arbitrary, depending on how many matching buttons I could find in my button tin.








Monday, August 30, 2021

Esther

Photo by Narges Moaddab on Unsplash
I didn’t ask to be a queen,
I would have rather gone unseen.
An orphaned child of immigrants,
Expecting insignificance,
I never dreamed of palace life
Or wished to be a royal wife.

But, chosen by the king and crowned,
I’m steeped in luxury all around,
And stuck behind a palace wall
To wait my husband’s beck and call,
While Mordecai’s outside the gate
Just hoping he can learn my fate.

Though not a circumstance I’d choose,
Despondent sorrow I refuse.
By blessed Mordecai well taught
To be content whate’er my lot,
I’ve found the courage to rejoice
And trust the providential choice.

But now I face a greater ill
That makes my hardships keener still,
For Haman will the kingdom use
To vent his hatred on the Jews.
I feel a weighty need to act
Before my people are attacked.

I’m scared to go before the king.
His law is death for such a thing,
But I’ve been set in such a place
As could be used to save my race,
And come at such a time as this,
I dare not cave to cowardice.

Thus I, outside my comfort zone,
With firm resolve, approach the throne.
When in his presence I appear,
He grants me favor to draw near
And make what seemed a strange appeal—
That Haman join us for a meal.

Supported by my people’s prayers,
I catch the villain unawares,
The king with anger towards him burns,
And fate in one sweet moment turns.
Vile Haman falls in deep disgrace,
And Mordecai obtains his place.

It wasn’t following my dreams
That foiled the adversary’s schemes,
But rising up to meet demands
That fell in my unwilling hands,
Not seeking self or serving kings, —
Just faithfulness in little things.

 -Nita Brainard


Friday, August 27, 2021

Vashti

Photo by Mohammad Metri on Unsplash
 In opulent display of wealth,
Ahasuerus made a feast
To show the glory of his realm
To both the greatest and the least.
His banners hung in colors bold,
And marble paved the floor’s design.
They drank from goblets made of gold,
      And stinted not on wine.

I, too, of luxuries took my fill
And celebrated like the king,
But when his vain, capricious will
Demanded an unrighteous thing
And asked to put me on display,
I scorned the pride of empty show
And risked my all to disobey
      When I refused to go.

With hastiness unparalleled,
In selfish fear and wounded pride,
The coward who was thus repelled
Forever put his wife aside.
I haven’t seethe king since then.
Another woman takes my place—
So fleeting is the praise of men,
     So vain, my pretty face.

-Nita Brainard, August 2021

Sunday, May 16, 2021

Too Good to Be True


This was inspired by a friend who told me the gospel seemed too good to be true.

Photo credit: Rob Long on Unsplash
 

  Too Good to Be True

                 Ephesians 1 and 2

Too good to be true! I’m afraid to believe
That God cares enough about people like me
To offer salvation that we might receive
His life everlasting entirely free.

Chorus
Too good to be true; it’s too good to be true
And yet I believe it, By faith I receive it,
And walk in His blessings: Do you?

Too good to be true! But it’s true nonetheless.
The promises made by the world are all lies,
But God can be trusted, who’s ready to bless,
And gives us good gifts that I dare not despise.

Too good to be true, but He gave us His Son,
Who died for our sins and has risen above.
Predestined in Him, our position is won,
Adopted as children and wrapped in His love.

Too good to be true, but we stand on a Rock.
By faith, and not works, we are saved and sustained;
Made holy in Christ, we are able to walk
In works that the Father beforehand ordained.



 

Saturday, January 16, 2021

What about Junia?

Using Junia as a spring board to advocate for the full inclusion of women in church leadership involves a number of assumptions that belie it as a position of true biblical scholarship. It assumes:

1. That Junia was a woman (a plausible but not a proven position)

2. That Junia was an apostle (a plausible but not a proven position)

3. That all apostles had equal inclusion in church leadership (an untenable position)

It is a sad commentary on the state of Christianity that people get so caught up on one side or the other of the first two assumptions that they neglect the last and more important issue. "Apostle" has a variety of uses in the New Testament, and much of the discussion about Junia simply ignores this fact.

The only place in the Bible where Junia is mentioned is Romans 16:7 which reads: Salute Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen, and my fellow prisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me. Many people have determined from this verse that Junia was a female apostle. I had always assumed that Junia was esteemed by the apostles and until recently had never concerned myself about whether this person was male or female. The Greek (like the English of the King James Version) is ambiguous and could be taken to mean either that Junia was a noted apostle or was noted by the apostles.

Perhaps Junia was a woman. Other women were honored by Paul's salutations in Romans 16, Priscilla even being mentioned before her male counterpart. That women were held in high regard by Paul cannot be doubted. They have been lifted up by the gospel to a place that is unheard of in paganism or any man-made religion. To maintain, however, from this short verse that there was a female apostle who held a place of authority in the church flies in the face of clearer passages of Scripture. 

Perhaps Junia was an "apostle." I suppose, if she was, that she was a missionary, and a highly honored one. That is what the Greek word, "apostle" means, after all. The apostles are men whom God sent to do His work. Certainly He sends women to engage in missionary work also. He sent Mary Magdalene to inform the disciples of His resurrection. He asked the woman who touched the hem of his garment to testify to His work in her life before the crowds in the street. Let us, however, not make so much of this verse about Junia that we use it to overthrow the clear teaching of the Bible. Junia could have been sent of God and still obeyed the injunction to be silent in the churches (1  Cor. 14:34) and not to have authority over men. (1 Tim. 2:12.) 

Whether male or female, not all the apostles held places of authority in the church. The idea that the apostles were somehow greater than other people is not the teaching of the New Testament. Even the original twelve were ordinary men who served their God. They had no infallibility and no authority above the word of God. Even if Junia was a woman (which is by no means certain) and even if she was an apostle (which is also not certain on the face of the passage,) any use of the Scripture about Junia to justify placing women in the place of pastor or church leader is based on a misapprehension what it means to be an apostle. 

The facts are these: The name Junia in Romans 16 is in the accusative case. For this name, the accusative case is the same whether the name is feminine or masculine, so the gender of the name cannot be determined by the text itself. The context gives us no conclusive evidence as to Junia's gender. The name is paired with a masculine name which might incline us towards her being his wife, but Junias could also be a male co-worker.

The male form Junias is rare in the history of Greek writing which inclines many people to the assumption that the person mentioned was feminine. This is a legitimate opinion, but it still remains only an opinion and not an indisputable fact. Chrysostom in the fourth century believed Junia was both feminine and an apostle. His opinion is evidence in favor of this view, but clearly not authoritative. He lived four centuries after the people involved and had no greater insight into Biblical Greek than modern preachers have into the English of the 1600s. We have no testimony to the gender of Junia/s from anyone who actually knew the people involved.

 Unless a first, second, or even third-hand testimony from someone who actually knew Junia is discovered, no amount of research is going to definitively decide this question. Apparently, in the eyes of God who breathed the Scriptures, the gender of this person was not of high consequence and is nothing to build a doctrine on. There are seven other women in the list of salutations, the first of whom was entrusted to deliver Paul's letter. If we need a female example, let us follow one of them.