In what simple way is God calling you to act that would draw you closer to Him? For me it was spending a year to read and study the Bible. .
These are my own contemplative thoughts. If you disagree with the below that’s ok! .
Before Christ, in the Old Testament, under the old covenant, only priests were allowed near the altar, and they acted as the mediators between God and man. The book of Esther is symbolic to this as it describes her standing in the inner court in front of the king’s hall. The king sees Queen Esther just outside his inner court, HE FINDS FAVOR IN HER (a statement we read often in scripture when God’s relationship to his people is discussed) and holds out his scepter to her as a sign that it is ok to approach him. She moves towards him and touches the very tip of his scepter, a sign of her obedience and humility. To me her approach is like those hoping to come to God either for the first time or after a long hiatus. We have to approach with humility and an open heart, yet we do not have to be pure, or holy, or of a certain worldly stature. We are allowed to come as we are. Esther, who despite knowing she was doing something against the man-made laws of the day said she would approach the king to save her people the Jews from being slaughtered, “even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.” In this statement she showed her bravery. This kind of bravery is what God wants to see from us, wants us to cut through all the worldly “laws” like our own expectations, guilt, rules, etc., right to Him. And He will find favor in us for this—we will become his special students in that moment, He will take us under His wing and show us wonderful miracles and bless us tremendously, especially show us how to find His kind of joy in this life if we keep our eyes open to Him. .
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Contemplative Vision by Juliet Benner is a book about contemplating religious art with prayer in mind and using it to expand our prayer life by gazing at the face of God through it, seeing His face and meditating about the art’s purpose/story, and the artist’s time creating it. The book discusses using art as a purpose to expand our faith and awe. For instance, the artists who create icons of Christ meditate on his face for hours while painting him. Just beautiful! .
Talk about a cozy book for the season! Prairie Avenue by Arthur Meeker is that! Prairie Avenue was a really fancy neighborhood in Chicago in the early 1900’s. This story highlights the world that goes on behind closed doors—really fancy ones—and in rooms—really fancy ones with large stone fireplaces and indoor gardens. Despite what we may see, trouble can brew anywhere and people can be in pain even though their life may look grand on the outside. Arthur Meeker highlights this kind of paradox and I highly recommend it! It’s one of my favorites and it is one of the few books I would read again. .
“Truthful lips endure forever,
But a lying tongue lasts only a moment.” (Proverbs 12:19)
. “Deceit is in the hearts of those who plot evil,
But those who promote peace have joy.” (Proverbs 12:20)
Most of Proverbs was written by Solomon, known to be the wisest man who ever lived. In Hebrew, the word proverb means to rule or to govern. This book is written in poetic couplet form and contains words of wisdom with which we should govern ourselves. Both proverbs above are about truth. The top one is understood if we look at it in a broad sense. The truth is we should love each other and promote mercy and empathy, the lying tongue is the one who tells us certain people should continue to be marginalized, this argument will not endure, because it is nothing but a frivolous lie coming from those who refuse to love with their WHOLE hearts.
The second proverb can be understood from an individualistic point of view. Like those who are protesting for peace and justice in the streets all over the world right now I’m sure feel joy in their hearts when they see how many others are doing the same, and they go home feeling uplifted and inspired because they know, with every core of their being, they are fighting for truth and for good. No part of their soul feels heavy or burdened by the lie, because the lie died with them, it went no further, it was barricaded by the truth they amplified. So, by this we could in fact change the world if we stop the lie when it comes to us and instead promote peace and truth. We all need a little more courage in that
I’ve been looking forward to sharing this book. For many, the book of Revelation is one of the most frightening books of the Bible. I too was afraid to read it thinking it would destroy my faith out of fear. But I read it…carefully…and was fascinated by it. It is one of my favorite books now, because it is so colorful, dripping with allegory, and Jesus is alive & speaks again, so I’m immediately inspired. There is so much to study and make out if this book.
We have the Apostle John who has seen a vision of Christ and is told to write down all he will soon see as a prophecy of things to come. “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last.” ( Revelation 1:17)
This quote said by Christ sums up everything: He said this to His faithful servant, John, someone who meditated and gazed on the face of Christ consistently, in everything he did and Christ tells him to not be afraid (because to you, John—we could insert) I am the First and the Last. We must begin our faith with Christ and continue our faith with Christ throughout our days, make Him first and make Him last, the first thought in the morning and the last thought at night. Make Christ and His truth your everyday, and you should not be afraid of anything you read in Revelation (or life’s trials), but only be in awe and marvel at the mystery of it yet to be truly understood
A little porch reading and reflection for this beautiful Sunday morning. .
Isn’t that cup cute? It’s part of my grandma’s everyday china when she first got married. Cool thing: I started putting coffee in a teapot so I never have to leave my front porch for a refill! Yay
Can I talk about my sweet woodruff? I only grow it because Vita Sackville-West suggested it in her many garden books. It is one of my favorite flowers in my garden now. Not only can it be used in tea & scented sachets, I also use it to make simple syrup for cocktails. Today I made May wine!
Cut 20 sprigs, rinse and toast them in oven at 275 degrees for five mins. Immediately drop them into a bottle of cheap white wine, sweet wine I’m told works best. Shelf it in cool dry place for three to five days, and you’ll have a nice little drink for spritzers or whatever you’d like!
Said to be better than Eugenie Grandet by Balzac himself. This should be a treat! I loved Eugenie Grandet, even featured it in a novella I wrote a couple years ago. Can’t wait to dive into this
The Book of Job is sort of an epic poem. It is the story of a man of devout faith who is very fortunate. But God decides to test him to see if his good fortune is the only thing that has kept him faithful, so he takes away everything from Job. But Job remains faithful no matter what. Even Job’s friends encourage Job to admit he must have done something wrong to receive God’s wrath, but Job insists he remained righteous and he didn’t not lose faith in God. Really I think Job’s friends here are missing the point, God has plans we don’t know of. And yes, people who don’t have faith could say you are only saying ‘God has a plan’ in a deplorable situation because that is a cliched believer’s excuse to not lose faith, but that is exactly the case! We don’t want to lose faith, because to lose our faith would be to lose everything. And most of us actually do believe He has a plan beyond our understanding. It’s not a matter of God’s wrath, there is no such thing, He does not want to hurt us, he only wants to guide us and bend us and show us and teach us
The Living Forest: Two young boys in the Canadian Woods is a book I enjoyed very much. Written initially for children, it is the story of two boys and a man who has lived with the indigenous tribes of Canada his whole life. Together they take a trip through the wilderness in 1891 and along the way the reader is taught how to make sinew rope, a canoe, how to build a proper fire and shelter, and we get to enjoy the marvelous sketches of Arthur Hemming, a famous Canadian painter and novelist, while we’re at it. Swipe to see 👉. It is a lovely wilderness story.