Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“The righteous will ask, Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty, or a stranger or needing clothes, or sick or in prison? And the King will say, ‘As you did it for one of the least of these, you did it for me.”
a still place of light
a still place of love
Your light radiating
Your love vibrating
Your touch and Your healing
far flung and near
to the myriads caught
in darkness, in sickness
in lostness, in fear
make a heart-center here,
Light of the world.”
Today’s Study Text:
“So it came to pass, when the king’s commandment and his decree was heard, and when many maidens were gathered together unto Shushan the palace, to the custody of Hegai, that Esther was brought also unto the king’s house, to the custody of Hegai, keeper of the women. And the maiden pleased him (Hegai), and she obtained kindness of him; and he speedily gave her, her things for purification, with such things as belong to her, and seven maidens, which were meet to be given her, out of the king’s house: and he preferred her and her maids unto the best place of the house of the women…Now when every maids turn was come to go in to King Ahasuerus, after that she had been twelve months, according to the manner of the women, (for so were the days of their purification accomplished, to wit, six months with oil of myrrh, and six months with sweet odours, and with other things for the purifying of the women): then thus came every maiden unto the king; whatsoever she desired was given her to go with her out of the house of the women unto the king’s house. In the evening she went, and on the morrow she returned into the second house of the women, to the custody of Shaashgaz, the king’s chamberlain, which kept the concubines; she came in unto the king no more, except the king delighted in her, and that she were called by name.”
Esther 2: 8,9,12-14
“Nurturing The Embers of Hope”
“The Aroma of Beauty” Part 13
“Beauty without grace, is a hook without bait.”
Ninon de Lenclos
What can I learn from the life of Esther about outward beauty?
“No matter how plain a woman may be, if truth and honesty are written across her face, she will be beautiful.”
Have I ever met someone who had been described as beautiful yet they didn’t appear that way to others I knew?
“Shape and height, texture and color are determined by the amazing genes that the Lord implanted in you as He designed you in the womb. These were His gifts to you. Be assured that God likes what He created you to be, in all your physical features. You are beautiful to Him.”
“In every (person’s) heart there is a secret nerve that answers to the vibrations of beauty.”
When my nieces were young and still living at home, I had a routine observance with them involving Christmas. Every year, the three of us would go shopping downtown and I’d pay for them to get gifts for their parents and grandparents. While this was the main goal of our evening shopping spree, inevitably we would make a stop at the entrance of the department store where the aroma of a wide-variety of perfumes and soaps couldn’t help but block your way into the rest of the store.
Of course, with such a variety of pleasant odors beckoning the unwary, we often found ourselves covered in a variety of spicy or sweet fragrances. Even today with one brief whiff of a perfume called “Shalimar,” I’m transported to a happy time in carefree days long past.
As I was reading our study texts for today, I found myself reflecting on brochures that were describing a “day at a spa.” But in the case of life at the palace in Shushan, we would have to redefine the pampering care provided to the pageant beauties as a year in a spa. The women who found themselves taken into the house for the maidens found their treatment over-the-top to say the least.
As Bible commentator Matthew Henry points out, “The marriages of princes were commonly made by policy and interest, for the enlarging of their dominions and the strengthening of their alliances; but this must be made partly by the agreeableness of the person to the king’s fancy, whether she was rich or poor, noble or ignoble. What pains were taken to humor the king! As if his power and wealth were given him for no other end than that he might have all the delights of sense wound up to the height of pleasurableness, and exquisitely refined…all the provinces of King Ahasuerus’ kingdom were searched for fair young virgins…a house was prepared for them and a person appointed to have charge of them…No less than twelve months was allowed for their purification…Even those who were the masterpieces of nature must yet have all this help.”
While this kind of attention seems to be extravagant to pleasure one king, in a foreign land where thoughts of God, the Creator of heaven and earth were not part of the thoughts or teachings, one can only come to the conclusion that the physical desires were of utmost importance while divine concepts of the Almighty bore little to no concern.
What a contrast are the thoughts on beauty from a worldly perspective when compared to the inspiring words of George Appleton who had a significantly broader view of the Almighty God: “Lead us, O God, from the sight of the lovely things of the world to the thought of Thee their Creator; and grant that delighting in the beautiful things of Thy creation we may delight in Thee, the first author of beauty and the sovereign Lord of all Thy works, blessed forevermore.”
“May we explore together the territory of knowledge;
May we learn together the mysteries of truth;
May we share together the experience of beauty;
May we release in each other the spark of creativity;
May we always remember that You,
the author of all knowledge, Yourself
goodness, Truth and Beauty,
delight to share all experience with us.”
Kathleen A. Goodacre
A Song of the Road
“I lift my cap to Beauty,
I lift my cap to Love;
I bow before my Duty,
And know that God’s above!
My heart through shining arches
of leaf and blossom goes;
My soul, triumphant, marches
Through life to life’s repose.
And I, through all this glory,
Not know, nor fear my fate –
The great things are so simple,
The simple are so great!”
Fred G. Bowles
“Keep alive in us, Spirit of God,
even in desperate days,
a vision of a true and godly beauty,
shaped from the least likely matter
of Your creation,
So that, graced and cheered,
we may not perish,
but be enlivened and encouraged
on the path to holiness and glory.”
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