Monday, January 30, 2012

Bathsheba's Beauty ~ A Message of Modesty


Bathsheba Mourns Her Husband by James Tissot
"And it came to pass in an eveningtide, that David arose from off his bed, and walked upon the roof of the king's house: and from the roof he saw a woman washing herself; and the woman was very beautiful to look upon. And David sent and enquired after the woman. And one said, Is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite? And David sent messengers, and took her; and she came in unto him, and he lay with her; for she was purified from her uncleanness: and she returned unto her house. And the woman conceived, and sent and told David, and said, I am with child." 
~ 2 Samuel 11:2-5
What description does the Scriptures give to Bathsheba other than that she was "very beautiful to look upon"?  There is no inclination that she was an "intentionally" evil woman but her name is always associated with scandal.

Oh, beautiful Bathsheba! Had she known the cost of her indiscretion, would she have walked in those same steps?  Just a few moments off guard brought sin and sorrow into her life! The death of her husband and future son… (We know that sin lies also with King David but we will let the men discuss his dastardly deeds.)

Scripture doesn't portray her a wicked women as it does Jezebel or Delilah so it seems like she simply fell into folly through her careless act of exposing her womanly flesh. That is indeed what started it all. What we consider to be a minor display of skin can be a major stumbling block to our brothers in Christ.

We know that the lust of the flesh is also a huge battle in the world today! Sadly, there is so much promiscuity out there that it is not only affecting the men of the world but also the brothers in the church. We must do our part as godly women and not add to the temptation by displaying our bodies for admiration. Scriptures says that if they even think on these things, men are sinning:
"But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart." ~ Matthew 5:28
Wearing revealing clothing is the same style of sin as offering an ex-drunk, a taste of alcohal or one fighting an addiction to drugs, some heroine. You surely would not do that! So why would you offer a portion of yourself for viewing through immodest dress? We must tread delicately with our wardrobes as Scripture prescribes:
"In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works." ~ 1 Timothy 2:9-10
Had Bathsheba kept her beauty to herself and confined it to her "marriage bed" (Hebrews 13:4), many hardships and evils would have been removed from history. Of course, she may have not noticed she had an audience but a view from his side almost implies that if she was a cautious woman, she would have noticed prior to disrobing what could be seen from her side.  We wouldn't get undressed with our curtain or shades up, would we? 

Simply said, revealing the beauty of our bodies is a stumbling block for men and God is very careful to warn us about this.
"So then each of us shall give account of himself to God. Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way." ~ Romans 14:12-14
Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak." ~ 1 Corinithians 8:9 
If eating meat was going to be a stumbling block for people (1 Corinthians 8:13), then Apostle Paul would have given it up less the weaker vessel stumble! Our love for our brothers in Christ can surely show through the giving up of low-cut, clingy shirts, tight fitting, and revealing clothing!

I hear many women put the blame on the men themselves saying that "they shouldn't be looking anyway", but why wear such clothes if that isn't exactly what you want them to do? (My intention is not to be harsh but to question the motivation behind dressing in an alluring way.)

Married Maidens

I have read a lot from the married sisters claiming that they dress as they do to please their husband (and it can sound like a godly concept) however, have they ever considered that they may be pleasing someone else's husband as well? Dress to please God!

Single Sisters

It is probably very enticing to dress to attract a spouse, however, the same situations applies to you. Are you not a "woman professing good works"? Of course, you want to present yourself in a feminine and fresh way but there is a difference between a pretty, Christian maiden dressing properly for God and a vixen who is using her wiles as a tool to attract admiration. The physical beauty of your flesh will one day grow old and you want to be bound with a man who is attracted to your pious character. You don't want to blind them with eye candy when you have so much more to offer.  Yes, I realize "chemistry" is a huge factor in finding a mate, but a sweet smile and sparkling eyes are very attractive features to display without compromising the word of God.

Bathsheba's Beauty

So, being beautiful wasn't truly Bathsheba's problem, it was the fact that she revealed it in front of another man who did not belong to her. Yes, she was on her own property, but boundaries of modesty are not given (except in the case of the "marriage bed" between a husband and wife of course!).

Dear sisters in Christ,

I pray you consider the word of God and choose to serve Him each day by dressing and conducting yourself like a "woman professing good works" for...

"Strength and honour are her clothing;
and she shall rejoice in time to come."
~ Proverbs 31:25

Thursday, January 26, 2012

A Little Princess ~ A Nourishing Novel

 
Illustration from A Little Princess

“Whatever comes," she said, "cannot alter one thing.
If I am a princess in rags and tatters,
I can be a princess inside.
It would be easy to be a princess if I were dressed in cloth of gold, 
but it is a great deal more of a triumph
to be one all the time when no one knows it.”

 ― Frances Hodgson Burnett, A Little Princess



A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett is probably (still) one of my favorite books. It is easy to be a "princess" when things go well in your life. But how do we respond in dark situations? See this little maiden shine… Recommended reading for females of all ages though it is geared for 8-12 year olds.

Scripture that Summarizes the Story:

"Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned,
in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content."
~ Philippians 4:11


Buy at Art.com

Coming Soon…

for mothers to do with daughters.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Beautiful Hands



"In the cloakroom of a certain school a question arose among some girls as to who had the most beautiful hands. The teacher listened to her girls thoughtfully. They compared hands and explained secrets of keeping them pretty. Nettie said that a girl could not keep perfect hands and wash dishes or sweep. Maude spoke of the evil effects of cold and wind and too much sunshine. Stella told of her favorite cold cream. Ethel spoke of proper manicuring. At last the teacher spoke.

“To my mind Jennie Higgins has the most beautiful hands of any girl in school,” she said quietly.

“Jennie Higgins!” exclaimed Nettie in amazement; “why, her hands are rough and red and look as if she took no care of them. I never thought of them as beautiful.”

“I have seen those hands carrying dainty food to the sick, and soothing the brow of the aged. She is her widowed mother’s main help, and she it is who does the milking and carries the wood and water, yes, and washes dishes night and morning, that her mother may be saved the hard work. I have never known her to be too tired to speak kindly to her little sister and help her in her play. I have found those busy hands helping her brother with his kite. I tell you I think they are the most beautiful hands I have ever seen, for they are always busy helping somewhere.”

~ Excerpt from Beautiful Girlhood by Mabel Hale




Linked up to: Deep Roots at Home

Friday, January 20, 2012

Grace Darling



"The cries of the sufferers on the remaining part of the wreck
were heard during the night."  *

~ Grace Darling

Who is Grace Darling?

Grace Horsley Darling was born in 1816, in Farne Isles (England) to Christian parents. She was a legendary Victorian herione noted for saving the lives of a shipwrecked group with the aid of her beloved father on the stormy seas.  


Interesting facts about her life:
  • Her father was the steadfast lighthouse keeper of Longstone and they therefore lived a life of solitude on the island with the family life being the center of their world.
  • Grace was home educated on the island by her father with the the rocks and shores acting as her playground. She was the seventh of nine children.
  • She was an avid reader and when her brothers were shipped off the island to gain experience and find work, she remained with her parents heartily performing household duties including helping to maintain their self sufficient lifestyle.
  • On September 7th, the steamship, Forfarshire, struck a rock and broke in two. A few hours later, Grace (aged 22) and her father (aged 52) spotted the survivors on the reef and took the family row boat out in the stormy sea to rescue them from Harcar Rock.
  • Nine were saved that day due to their aid. Grace, a petite 5'3", apparently kept the boat at bay on the wavering waters while her father brought in the stranded. They saved four on her shift and she stayed ashore with that group while her father and another man that was shipwrecked went back for the rest.
  • She became an instant heroine for this deed. She was the first woman to be given the RNLI Gallantry Medal. People from all over were sending her gifts of a monetary nature but she did not touch an ounce of it in her lifetime. The money was later used to create the Royal National Lifeboat Institution. In essence, the rescues at sea continue on in her memory today.
  • She had many suitors after the famous incident but she probably saw through their intentions of fame and never accepted any proposals.
  • She was an instant success with the press and chocolates and soaps were named after her. Due to her humble nature though, she did not encourage this nor did she ever allow herself to become a public figure. The notoriety was not well received and she ended up remaining on the island with her father and mother for the duration of her life even though she had become the first female Victorian heroine. Some have called her a recluse by remaining in the lighthouse after all of the publicity. I call her a "quiet and gentle" woman (1 Peter 3:4).
  • She died at 26 years of age (just four years after the famous rescue) of tuberculosis as a single maiden who did a singular deed.



What was interesting to me about her story is that it took place in a deserted location. Grace Darling lived in an isolated world as a dedicated daughter and sister but when a situation presented itself, she acted accordingly. She did not seek fame and fortune but rather lived humbly in her home serving the Lord in the quiet ways described in 1 Thessalonians 4:11~

"And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you; That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing."

Then, a day came when she offered her life as assistance to others in the stormy seas…

Even those who are stranded on an island have the opportunity to serve God in great ways! Sometimes we as women may feel like we are stranded on one as well but you are doing great things in your isolated homes! Mothers are building leaders in the home and daughters are learning to be those future mothers. That is heroic in itself! You are raising the future heroes and heroines of the faith (Hebrews, Chapter 11)! So, let us not limit the ways that God can work in each and every one of us and use every opportunity to let our lights shine like those who manned that famous lighthouse.

Suggested Resources:

If you would like to read to your children about Grace Darling, James Baldwin has a chapter about her in his book titled, "Fifty Famous Stories Retold". You can find it online for free with this link.

(It is interesting to note that I prepared this prior to the sinking of the ship in Italy and we can see how much the heart of man is tried and tested in these scary sojourns at sea!)

* I have quoted this since this is what she was famous for supposedly saying but some have stated that these words have been turned to fantasy and it was not possible to hear the cries from her location. Her situation brought out a lot of sensational stories and I tried to write what was solid and true though many tales have been told.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

An Awards Banquet



This is a thank you post to two sweet souls for bestowing the same award to this blog within one week… The Versatile Blogger Award* ~ I appreciate your confidence! It is a bit awkward presenting this to readers since it feels like I am giving it to myself since I just did a posting on the Liebster Award. But, if you visit these two sweet ladies you will find that the honor was truly given (wink).

Warm thanks to:
  • Nicol at Ladies of Virtue ~ Her blog is dedicated to "pursuing biblical womanhood with purpose and passion."
  • Kasey at These Five of Mine ~ Her blog is dedicated to "offer encouragement to weary pilgrims and to be a beacon that points to the true light."

    Here is how it works:

    This award comes with some rules: 
    • Thank the award-giver and link back to them in your post. 
    • Share 7 random things about yourself. 
    • Nominate 5 fellow bloggers and let them know about it.


      According to the Rules ~ Seven Random Things about Myself:
      1. I love history!
      2. Chocolate is my weakness or my strength :) White or dark but nothing in between...
      3. My hair reaches my waist.
      4. I probably own over 1,000 books and I am reading four at a time right now because I am a moody reader.
      5. I drink my coffee with heavy cream and raw honey.
      6. I'm the person who strangers ask to take pictures for them in public places, to borrow my cell phone when they forget theirs and to ask "personal questions" to at the grocery store… Do you know my kind yet?
      7. I ball my head off when reading aloud to my family… (I'll never forget my husband's face when he saw me struggling for words with tears pouring down my cheeks while reading to my four year old. I couldn't even finish the sentence. "What's wrong?!" he asked. "Charlotte died!!!", I cried. You wouldn't believe his expression when he found out that she was just a spider...)

      My five nominees for THE VERSATILE BLOGGER AWARD are (drumroll please)… And again, I have tried to include females of all ages and stages in order to support the theme of this site:


      In no particular order ~
      1. The Beauty of the Inner Spirit
      2. Jill's Home Remedies
      3. Lizzy's Nest
      4. Reflections from a Homemakers Heart
      5. Country Mouse Musings

      * Once again I was bold and changed the graphic of the award. When am I ever again going to be using such a neat piece of clip art in my little world? Thank you for forgiving me in advance.

      Wednesday, January 4, 2012

      Willing Widow of Zarephath


      "And the word of the LORD came unto him (Prophet Elijah), saying, Arise, get thee to Zarephath, which belongeth to Zidon, and dwell there: behold, I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee. So he arose and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of the city, behold, the widow woman was there gathering of sticks: and he called to her, and said, Fetch me, I pray thee, a little water in a vessel, that I may drink. And as she was going to fetch it, he called to her, and said, Bring me, I pray thee, a morsel of bread in thine hand. And she said, As the LORD thy God liveth, I have not a cake, but an handful of meal in a barrel, and a little oil in a cruse: and, behold, I am gathering two sticks, that I may go in and dress it for me and my son, that we may eat it, and die. And Elijah said unto her, Fear not; go and do as thou hast said: but make me thereof a little cake first, and bring it unto me, and after make for thee and for thy son. For thus saith the LORD God of Israel, The barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail, until the day that the LORD sendeth rain upon the earth." ~ 1 Kings Chapter 17:8-14
      Oh, dear reader! Can't you imagine the day this poor women has had! The exhaustion, lack of hope, mental weariness and now this stranger has appeared and asked something of her which she feels she can not give!

      Her very last meal.

      She was in one of the lowest points in her life... We don't know how recent it had been since she lost her husband but sorrow surely remained. We do not know how long she had been scrimping but we do know she and her beloved son were on the verge of starvation. To suffer hunger yourself must be horrible to endure, but to watch a loved one bear it must be worse than one can imagine.  It was an inconvenient time in her life and yet that is when God singled her out!

      He described her to the prophet Elijah!

      He had been watching her…

      He had a plan for her…

      However, from the humble position on earth, it seems like the promises of heaven are sometimes too high for us to comprehend! Too often, our fleshly eyes can not see that far!

      But God knew she had more to give… because He was going to provide what she was lacking. Her willing obedience provided the opportunity.
      "And she went and did according to the saying of Elijah: and she, and he, and her house, did eat many days. And the barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the word of the LORD, which he spake by Elijah." ~ 1 Kings Chapter 17:15-16
      This true story of the widow at Zarephath shows us that when we are at our worst, we are to keep on serving!

      When we aren't feeling well, we are to keep on serving…
      When we are financially ruined, we are to keep on serving…
      When we are overwhelmed and tired, we are to keep on serving…

      in whatever capacity we can.

      But how?
      "And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me."
      ~ 2 Corinthians 12:9

      "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."

      ~ Phillipians 4:13



      Sadly, her saga continues when her dear son perishes!
      "And it came to pass after these things, that the son of the woman, the mistress of the house, fell sick; and his sickness was so sore, that there was no breath left in him. And she said unto Elijah, What have I to do with thee, O thou man of God? art thou come unto me to call my sin to remembrance, and to slay my son? And he said unto her, Give me thy son. And he took him out of her bosom, and carried him up into a loft, where he abode, and laid him upon his own bed. And he cried unto the LORD, and said, O LORD my God, hast thou also brought evil upon the widow with whom I sojourn, by slaying her son? And he stretched himself upon the child three times, and cried unto the LORD, and said, O LORD my God, I pray thee, let this child's soul come into him again. And the LORD heard the voice of Elijah; and the soul of the child came into him again, and he revived. And Elijah took the child, and brought him down out of the chamber into the house, and delivered him unto his mother: and Elijah said, See, thy son liveth. And the woman said to Elijah, Now by this I know that thou art a man of God, and that the word of the LORD in thy mouth is truth." ~ 1 Kings Chapter 17:17-24
      God gives forth his healing powers to Elijah! It appears that she has received a reward for her generosity… The resurrection of her beloved son!

      And we too, have been given something for our devoted faith, a promise of a resurrection which is far greater than that which Elijah had given... eternal life through the One who giveth life! 

      When circumstances are burdensome,
      remember the willing, widow of Zarephath...

      "And let us not be weary in well doing:
      for in due season we shall reap,
      if we faint not."

      ~ Galatians 6:9



      This will be linked up with the following:

      Sunday, January 1, 2012

      Ten Most Important Resolutions for Every Year


      1. I am the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage. Thou shalt have none other gods before me.

      2. Thou shalt not make thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the waters beneath the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself unto them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me, And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me and keep my commandments.

      3. Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain: for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.

      4. Keep the sabbath day to sanctify it, as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee. Six days thou shalt labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, nor thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thine ox, nor thine ass, nor any of thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates; that thy manservant and thy maidservant may rest as well as thou. And remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the LORD thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm: therefore the LORD thy God commanded thee to keep the sabbath day.

      5. Honour thy father and thy mother, as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee; that thy days may be prolonged, and that it may go well with thee, in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.

      6. Thou shalt not kill.

      7. Neither shalt thou commit adultery.

      8. Neither shalt thou steal.

      9. Neither shalt thou bear false witness against thy neighbour.

      10. Neither shalt thou desire thy neighbour's wife, neither shalt thou covet thy neighbour's house, his field, or his manservant, or his maidservant, his ox, or his ass, or any thing that is thy neighbour's.

      ~ Deuteronomy, Chapter 5


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