The Book of Esther

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. .

.

.

#bible #church #devotional #episcopal #catholic #priests #bibleverse #bookstagram #bibliophile #booklovers #bookstagrammer #writer #readersofinstagram #writersofinstagram #booknerd #bookgeek #read #queen #episcopalchurch #catholicchurch #spiritual #religion #christian #god #christ #jesus

Contemplative Vision by Juliet Benner

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! .

Prairie Avenue by Arthur Meeker

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. .

Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke

I first heard about this book from the film Sister Act 2 when I was younger, but I was reminded about it when I watched both Sister Act 1 &2 the other night with my kids to show them the great musical performances. Don’t make fun! These movies are great! 😄 Anyway now my son and I go around singing all the songs, and he loves them as much as I did. But I was determined afterward to read this book, a book Whoopi Goldberg gives to Lauryn Hill and encourages her to keep singing. She quotes from the book saying, “If the first thing you think of when you wake up in the morning is writing, then you’re a writer and if the same is for singing you’re a singer.” Something like that. Both films encouraged me to join my church choir and get involved in church at a young age eventually inspiring me to go to summer church camp three years in a row—a wonderful place I’ll never forget.

Great films and sure to be an inspiring read!

The Remains of Robert Murray M’Cheyne

Today I’d like to remember Robert Murray M’cheyne who gives so much richness and truth in this letters and sermons, which thanks to Andrew Bonar, M’Cheyne’s good friend, we now have this Presbyterian Reverend’s entire collection of writings, sermons, and letters—his “remains”. I come back to his work time and again because his words are so alive with the Holy Spirit that his work serves to strengthen me when I feel dried up and brittle like a dead branch.

.

.

.

“He became a babe, and was laid in a manger, for there was not room in the inn. The inn was like your heart; it was filled with other lodgers, and had no room for Jesus.” —Robert Murray M’Cheyne. (A letter “To One Awakened: A call upon a soul to choose Jesus. 1842).

M’Cheyne died when he was only 29 years old of Typhus and was buried at St. Peter’s church in Dundee, Scotland where he served. There was an estimated 7,000 people at his funeral. 💕

M’Cheyne Photo credit: lukesblog.org

The book of 1 Timothy

“For we brought nothing into the world and we can take nothing out of it.” ( 1 Timothy 6:7)

.

.

We came into this world naked. Our souls encapsulated in a body not of our own choosing so we can learn lessons from the journey of that body and it’s DNA, lessons built only for us. And the body is privy to certain things of the world, but the soul always thirsts for God. The further from God the more sickly our soul becomes. The more we embed our lives with God the less time we will want to spend away from Him. But the less time we spend with Him the more we will push Him away, and by this time we have a tiny feeling he will reject us if we return to Him or we won’t enjoy our time with Him because He has become so foreign and incomprehensible. I think we must realize our nakedness and live into our nakedness with Christ. The wealth of the soul is all that matters, and this wealth is of things not of this world, invisible to the eye, and felt only in the heart

The Jungle by Upton Sinclair

Currently reading…Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle, something I had to read in school but have forgotten much of it. I realize a city scene picture would be more appropriate but i was on the beach so…

His writing is fantastic. Everything moves in chaos in the first chapter like he intended, as if the words jump off the page and dance and fight and play—marvelous stuff!! This work actually launched a federal investigation of the working conditions for the poor!

A Grief Observed by C. S. Lewis

I read A Grief Observed by C. S. Lewis on the car ride home from our vacation. Felt like a journey or a walk with Lewis himself. Written after the death of his wife, a Grief Observed began as his journal to work things out, but he thought it might help others cope with their own loss so he published it. As he says, it is the story of him first, his wife, and God. In that order.

Green Dolphin Street by Elizabeth Goudge

Green Dolphin Street by Elizabeth Goudge is the story of unrequited love and disappointment, but it is also filled with the lesson to be satisfied no matter what end of the stick you received out of absolute necessity. It took me a long time to get through and it didn’t really get good until the end. I enjoyed it most of the time however, and I’m told it was a popular read when it came out in 1944. It was even adapted to film in 1947. I do think it’s worth giving it a read, even if you must get through the first 300 pages to get to the meat of it. 😬

Memoir and Remains of Robert Murray M’Cheyne

Needed me a little Robert Murray M’Cheyne this morning (19th century Presbyterian Minister—Edinburgh, Scotland). His pastoral letters supply a thirsty soul with living water. He knew the Bible so well and never failed to tie a small sermon into his letters.

To comfort a parishioner after the death of her brother:

“Are there any need to be brought off from the love of the world? Let them hear the voice of God from your brother’s grave, saying “What shall it profit a man though he gain the whole world and lose his own soul?” Your brother, though dead, still speaketh. To you he says, Lean on the Beloved as you come out of the wilderness. The Lord is at hand.” -Robert Murray M’Cheyne, Dundee February 28th, 1841

.

.

.

#bookstagram #bookstagrammer #book #booklover #bookshelf #library #spiritual #religion #christianity #presbyterian #catholic #episcopal #edinburgh #scotland #jesuschrist #robertmurraymcheyne #andrewbonar #coffee #flowers #zinnias #garden #unitedkingdom

Thomas Merton: The Seven Storey Mountain

Finished it over the weekend. It was so good! I could have done without part one, but I guess it was useful to see how far he came from not giving any thought to the existence of God to becoming a Trappist monk. Wish I were still reading it. Merton is an excellent teacher, I feel like I finished a long journey with a dear friend. If any of you out there are in a discernment period to possibly go to seminary school, which is something I wrestle with often, you should definitely read this!💕