Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Beauty of Holiness....part 9...+ a little warfare...

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6 
Part 7 
Part 8


Today we will look a little further into the results of the "beautification" process...and to refresh our minds concerning the passage in Esther 2, I have it copied below:

12)...twelve months under the regulations for the women—for the days of their beautification were completed as follows: six months with oil of myrrh and six months with spices and the cosmetics for women...
15)...And Esther found favor in the eyes of all who saw her...
17)The king loved Esther more than all the women, and she found favor and kindness with him...

As I was studying these verses, the Holy Spirit put His spotlight on the numbers of verse 12.  In Biblical signs and types, even the numbers have significant meaning.  Now, I don't go into the numerology direction, trying to predict the future; understanding the symbolism of signs and types simply deepens our understanding of what God is already saying.

With this in mind, the number 12 carries the idea of divine government and apostolic fullness (there were 12 disciples/apostles, 12 stones in the breastplate of the High Priest, 12 loaves of showbread, etc.).  The number 6 has several associations, but for my purpose here, I believe the focus is on 6 as being the number of man; 6 is 1 less than 7, and 7 is the number of God, of perfection, completeness.  I am reminded as I write this of the verse that declares "...all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23).  There were two blocks of time, 6 months each...I believe each 6 month period correlates to one of the 3 forces a believer must overcome in their lives...

the first six month period - representing our carnal nature, the flesh, and dying to the flesh;
the second six month period - representing the world culture, and dying to its influence as the character and nature of Jesus is being fashioned and expressed within;

and the third force is Satan.  Esther does symbolically face and resist Satan later - Haman is a type of Satan.  Haman's name comes from a Persian word that means "magnificent"!  It is easy to see the comparison, and if you know the story, Haman has the same type of pride which brought Satan to his down fall!

In verse 15 we read that Esther found favor - or other ways this word chen חֵןhas been translated, she found grace, graciousness, preciousness, and pleasantness - in the eyes of all who saw her.  She allowed the "beautification" process to have its intended purpose, she submitted humbly to the rigors of the rubbing and scraping (the things God puts in our path to challenge and refine us), and soaked in the perfumes and oils (the nature and presence of Jesus) till what was expressed through her was what we would call....holiness.

The type of holiness that is gentle and reverent with all, even one's own self; a holiness that is not self-abasing or legalistic, but a holiness that is rich in love.  A holiness that is patient, kind, not boastful or proud or arrogant, not jealous; a holiness that is upright, respectful, acting in ways that invite people towards it, that puts others before one's own desires, that doesn't get offended, that seeks out and delights in the truth and rejects unrighteousness even in the guise of religion; a holiness that is full of hope, steadfastness in God's ways, embracing all that God allows to come into their lives; a holiness that dwells on that which is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, of good repute, excellent, or worthy of praise...

And such holiness caused her king to find favor with her as well...the kind of favor that caused him to feel faithfulness and zeal towards her!

This is the kind of holiness I want to express...I want my King to be zealous towards me!  (See Zephaniah 3:17 for this zeal!) I want my nature to melt with the nature of Jesus, to the point that we are truly one.  And when this occurs, isn't that the point when I am most able to resist the devil?  And isn't this the point of the most serious warfare - when the enemy would seek to draw me away - when I am pressing closer to Him, living my life in worship to Him...worshiping Him in the beauty of holiness? And the weapon of my warfare?  More worship in the beauty of holiness!

Yes, Lord, let this be so of me!


Friday, June 24, 2011

An Old Prayer - Just Words to Inspire...

I have been painting a little...but busy tweener life has overcome all other aspects of existence this week...it is either that or that the heat has totally overwhelmed me...and the fact that twice storms have knocked out our electricity!  AND I totally lost my cell phone - Yikes!  But I was inspired to post anyway by Kay at Heart and Soul who was sharing about one of my favorite missionaries...and this is a quote of hers that I keep close to contemplate often...

SOLDIER'S PRAYER

Give me the love that leads the way,
the faith that nothing can dismay,
the hope no disappointments tire,
the passion that will burn like fire.
Let me not sink to be a clod:
  Make me thy fuel, Flame of God.
                                                        
                                                                                                        Amy Carmichael

I have this in a "spiritual warfare" collage....
May your week be full with faith, hope, passion, and being the fuel for the Flame of God!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Beauty of Holiness - Part 8

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6 
Part 7 

12Now when the turn of each young lady came to go in to King Ahasuerus, after the end of her twelve months under the regulations for the women—for the days of their beautification were completed as follows: six months with oil of myrrh and six months with spices and the cosmetics for women...

Today we are continuing the study of  Esther 2:12, the last phrase of "six months with spices and the cosmetics of women" (NASB):

 
Cosmetics - the same word translated as "beautification"
Scraping/rubbing                                                                     

Spices   -  from a word meaning "sweet odors" or "spices"  and the King James adds "with other things for the purifying of women"                                                                                 

In essence, spices are perfume.  There is a perfume defined in the Bible - "All thy garments [smell] of myrrh, and aloes, [and] cassia" - the fragrance of Jesus as written in Psalm 45:8.
                                                              
Myrrh  -  Last week we learned it is a spice associated with Death (in this case, meaning death of the Old Nature, of the flesh), with anointing, with love, and with purification.  The fragrant oil is released when the spice is crushed; myrrh is a picture of the fragrance of Jesus being released when we are crushed...by life, by our own choices or the choices of another, by walking in a fallen world...

Aloes - these spices were from a tree native to India and which was very aromatic.  Aloes are often
             associated with the Fragrance of nature

Cassia - a cinnamon like powdered bark that is often associated with the Fragrance of Christ

Just as Esther was being prepared to be a possible queen, our days of beautification are intended to prepare us to be transformed into a citizen of heaven, infusing us with the nature, anointing, and fragrance of Christ Himself - and leaving behind conformity to this world's system.  During the beautification process we are setting our affections on our new home, instead of this earth home (Colossians 3:2)…

and this is how holiness is worked in us, a continuous scraping and scrubbing and cleansing from that which is old and dead and worthless, and a soaking in all that is found in newness of life with Jesus, being infused with His nature and fragrance...


and just why am I surprised when the pain of releasing that which is old comes?  Can I learn to quickly see His "beautification" process has come to me in that moment, in that way?


Work Your beauty in me, O God!


Joining Emily at Imperfect Prose and Ann at Walk With Him Wednesdays

Friday, June 17, 2011

Sneak Peak Friday...Projects in waiting...

Like "Ladies in Waiting", these projects rest in my studio/office, waiting for me 
to touch, 
to begin,
to see what is now hidden,
to hear the Creator give a commission to begin...
Found at a yard sale - I negotiated down to $3...it is 20x24 (not including the frame) and I think if the flowers show through the background it will be very cool...

I look,
as many times as I walk in and out of that room,
waiting for Him to give the inspiration.
Another find at the same sale - another $3 - 36 x 35 inches not including frame...it will make another wonderful background!
A closeup of the texture...the colors are really the colors of dawn or dusk (silly lighting in the studio/office!)

I think He enjoys "thinking" about it, too,
but He already sees the finished piece,
He just likes it when we "think" together, 
not always lingering like this,
yet it is His delight to do so now.

Quiet times of study
don't always have to be IN the Word,
to be infused BY the Word!


 
Blocks waiting to be turned into this from Dayspring since I don't have $50 at the moment, but I do have paint and images and fonts from the computer!




 
And on other matters...I was delighted to figure out how to place custom "follow" buttons like these on the website

StudioJRU

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Beauty of Holiness - Part 7

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6 

Seven parts! Almost to the finish, but not quite yet...Today's verse/passage contains such an exciting to me revelation...this is what I hinted at in Part 1, the beautification process embedded in the Word. The story begins with the actual physical beauty of a woman judged such by the standards of her time...yet outward beauty wasn't enough...

The passage we will be looking at is Esther 2:12, 15, 17 (NASB):
12Now when the turn of each young lady came to go in to King Ahasuerus, after the end of her twelve months under the regulations for the women—for the days of their beautification were completed as follows: six months with oil of myrrh and six months with spices and the cosmetics for women...
15Now when the turn of Esther, the daughter of Abihail the uncle of Mordecai who had taken her as his daughter, came to go in to the king, she did not request anything except what Hegai, the king’s eunuch who was in charge of the women, advised. And Esther found favor in the eyes of all who saw her...
17The king loved Esther more than all the women, and she found favor and kindness with him...
 Notice that these already beautiful girls had to undergo a very specific process of "beautification"!  You know I love word studies, and it is eye-opening to know what "beautification" means:  in Hebrew, the word is מָרוּק and means "scrapings, a rubbings, bodily rubbings" and is formed from a root word meaning "to scour, to polish" .  Sounds a little painful! Immediately I thought of all the little bath and shower devices we use to rub off dead cells so that fresher, livelier skin is revealed!

The first six months were devoted to these rubbings and oil of myrrh.  It is interesting to really press in to what myrrh is all about: 1) the Hebrew word for myrrh is pronounced like "more" (which will really be ironic as we delve deeper); 2) Myrrh was a common spice used in the anointing oil, connected to love, connected with death and burial; 3) Myrrh has been used throughout time for its antiseptic properties and for its beneficial healing qualities; and finally, 4) Myrrh is associated with the fragrance and presence of Jesus.

Myrrh is the dried resin/sap of various trees and shrubs commonly found in the Mideast; it must be crushed for its fragrance to be released...

Is the Spirit within speaking already, making the connections in your soul and spirit?

In Biblical symbols and types, six is the number of man, of the flesh.  It is one number short of perfection (the number 7).  


Could it be that...
The answer to the problem of "the flesh" - the effects of  after our being in the world before "chosen" through salvation is the "oil of myrrh"...is more of Jesus - His Presence, His anointing - more healing, more death of the flesh, more identification with His death, burial and resurrection, more of His love...


This is how the forming of the "beauty of holiness" is worked in us...




Monday, June 13, 2011

1000 gifts and then some...

Continuing the count - at least the written count (#192- #193)
and remembering gifts given throughout time:

Sisters in the Lord using their talents to promote the Kingdom of God

Jesus, the Lamb of God
(Thanks to Junelle of "Yes and Amen" for use of her images)

Joining other grateful and gracious souls at Ann's:

Friday, June 10, 2011

Sneak Peak Friday...Creative Books...

I can't wait to see what other books are out there! Here are the main 3 books that have inspired me spiritually as I have followed God back into creativity:

The first: a fun way to add more creativity in your quiet times/prayer journal....Praying in Color:

A great book for all sorts of creative endeavors, whether writing, visual art, dance, etc..The Creative Call delves into what the Scripture says and reveals what the church has simply not focused on for centuries!  Plus practical sections to guide the reader to reflect on and discover their own heart towards creativity....


Making Crosses is simply so devotional and beautiful...perfect for individuals, groups, home-school, young and old...I used the idea for our homeschool group's children at an evening event (here) and they were deeply into the activity...you can read free chapters of the book and see crosses inspired by the book here.

And of course, a very inspirational book, rich in imagery:  the Bible ♥

Joining with Jennifer and other creatives at Studio JRU
StudioJRU

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

A Lament

I labored over it in love;
loving the words, loving the Word,
learning more,
the writing and learning and asking "what's next"
a wonderful dance with His presence infusing my present tense...

and then it was gone...in a flash
totally, finally, really gone
(How can that be when each post autosaves every minute?)

Another entry in "The Beauty of Holiness" - a revelation of the
pathway God always uses to fashion inner beauty...

And now it is only in my memory,
emblazoned there
ready to come forth again
If I dare...

If I care...
(I suppose He does)

tomorrow won't leave time to write
words of love still only written in the heart...
where all letters of value reside...

Will the Spirit draw it forth again?
We will see...


Not my usual today, but just a little vent
 

Monday, June 6, 2011

1000 gifts and then some...

Continuing the count - at least the written count (#181- #191)
and remembering gifts given throughout time:


"leaping in the swimming pool feels good" heat

swimming pools!

electricity

air conditioning!

warm water

indoor showers
(and all other indoor plumbing)

the smell of mowed grass

the family adventures to share in years to come:
Yes, the lawn mower ACTUALLY CAUGHT ON FIRE...
as well as dried grass clippings in the deck of the mower! 
Now that is HOT!

laughter in the midst of it

playdates here AND there
(the best cure for tweener cabin fever)

one perfect week of "no school" to celebrate the beginning of summer...
(lounging around the pool or the house - 
smiles, rest, peace, contentment)


Joining other grateful and gracious souls at Ann's:

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Sneak Peak Friday...Unveiling what I have been working on this week (and for the month of May!)

Here it is!  This is my "logo" for the website I was led of God to start...I actually made this in Microsoft Word, used my computer's snipping tool to make it into a jpeg file, and now it works as a picture anywhere on the web!

Note that this logo is in the upper left hand corner of my sidebar...if you click there, you will be taken to my website - hopefully to the blog...I am focusing more on the counseling side of me there...but also, I am including (at least weekly) faith based art exercises.  My plan is to post those exercises on Tuesdays.  Some will be more in line with "artist prompts" and some will look more like therapy work.  Today's post contains a prompt and borders on therapy!  Feel free to hop on over and try it!  And look around a while - I'd love to hear any feedback!  Just click on "Studio Blog" and that link will open a new tab and bring you back here...

I plan on continuing here with more of my personal/fun art - so we can keep on playing together on Fridays!

Joining with Jennifer and other creatives at Studio JRU
StudioJRU