Notes on Beauty

After making a lot of cozy cups for our church family, we were able to raise enough money for a intriguing webinar by the Botkin Girls on Reclaiming Beauty.  We were very excited when we sat down the first night in front of our laptop, eagerly anticipating the wonderful style advice and quick-fix techniques. But we had to get through the ‘spiritual’ stuff first. That stuff that is boring, old and just the precursor to the things that matter about turning heads. But really, that is where the true beauty begins.

We are now on week four of listening to it so I don’t remember much from the first one. Here are some well-compiled notes that a sister in Christ wrote that I have shamelessly stole to cover my embarrassment:

“What God says about Beauty and Beautification: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly”

By Anna Sofia & Elizabeth Botkin

The webinar started with the Botkin ladies announcing their disclaimers, such as that they are not teaching men, nor elders, but that they are speaking to their peers, young ladies. They also made a point to say:

“We are not encouraging daughters to figure these things out apart from their parents.”

These are my thoughts and notes on their first session of their seven part series. I hope you enjoy my ramblings.

When we think about beauty, we tend to have images of Hollywood actresses and models in our minds, yet, we are constantly barraged by the pairing of ‘beauty and sex/seduction’ together. So conservatism has placed a new standard of beauty in our minds, we think of nuns, shapeless clothes, dim colors, and faces devoid of make-ups. But what we have missed is that these are the extremes, we see what we don’t like, so we immediately run to the furthest extreme.

“The truth is not between two extremes, but in a totally different direction.”

So, to get a clear perspective of what God says beauty is, we first would have to remove all the other pictures of what we think beauty is. A few views of beauty are as follows:

–          Neo-Platonism

 Body/Spirit, meaning that the spirit matters, and the body doesn’t.Not the same as “spirit/flesh”.

–          Romantisim

 To have the ideal body

–          Naturalism

 …hippies, indulgence of the body

–          Distortionism

 Remake the body in your own image (plastic surgeries and defacing the body)

–          Sexualization

 Beauty means to be seductive in nature. But this isn’t how we are to behave, yes we are created as sexual beings, but we are to keep that in the context of marriage.

So, now what? If neither of these is the correct answer, what is? First we need to realize that:

“The world did not create beauty: God did.

The world does not own a copy write on beauty: God does.”

We must remember that we are the temple of God (I Cor. 3:16-17).  A temple is beautiful, majestic, grand…but we need to remember that we MAINTAIN the temple but we do not worship the temple. To be the holy of holies as it were, as a Christian, means more than simply an outward appearance, but inside the heart needs to be nurtured, groomed, guarded, protected, and grown.

“What does the Bible say about Beauty?”

Psalm 27:4

“One thing I have asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple.”

The word used for beauty here, means delight, pleasant, tangible, to be enjoyed.

“We must remember that all of creation was created to be enjoyed by its Creator.”

(These are pulled directly off a picture I took of two slides on the webinar.

–          The body is created in God’s image, and should reflect God’s image. (Genesis 1:26)

–          The body is fearfully and wonderfully made. (Psalm 139:14)

–          The body is part of the physical world we are supposed to tame, cultivate, refine, and take dominion of. (Genesis 1:28)

–          The body does not belong only to its owner. (I Corinthians 6:19, 20, I Corinthians 7:4)

–          We’re supposed to be glorifying Someone Who is not ourselves in our bodies. (I Corinthians 6:19, 20)

–          The body is a symbol for Christ’s church. (Ephesians 5)

–          The body apart from the spirit is dead. (James 2:26)

–          The body will be glorified for God’s eternal purposes. (I Corinthians 15)

–          The first body is natural; in this body men toil for God’s mandate in hope of the resurrection. (I Corinthians 15)

–          Deeds performed in this natural body will be judged. (Acts 17:31, John 5:22, 27, I Corinthians 6:3, Jude 6, II Corinthians 5:10, Ecclesiastes 12:14, Matthew 12:36, 25:32-46, Romans 14:10, 12)

–          The body is a temple for Someone greater than ourselves. (I Corinthians 6:19, 3:16, II Corinthians 6:16))

Psalms 19:1

“The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.”

His glory, His beauty, His creation ought to proclaim His glory. …What is your body, your appearance, proclaiming?

Beautification

 

Now, some think that since the world tries to make us think that beauty equals seductive, that we should just abandon it entirely. Besides, we have natural beauty, so if we use make ups, then we think we are trying to say God’s creation isn’t good enough, right? NO, this is wrong thinking. We must remember not to be legalistic, thinking that being plain, simple, or our attempt of being invisible is a work for righteousness. The Pharisees tried that, it didn’t work for them either.

Matthew 6:16-18

““And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.””

Their actions were motivated by their pride and vanity, we must remember that we are chosen, not because of ourselves, but by His pleasure, and now we are to represent Him, and His glory.

You see, God’s creation was made perfectly, but in Genesis 2:15, God tells Adam to “dress and keep” the garden. That is to make something that was already perfect and lovely, even better.

Ezekiel 16:9-14

“Then I bathed you with water and washed off your blood from you and anointed you with oil. I clothed you also with embroidered cloth and shod you with fine leather. I wrapped you in fine linen and covered you with silk.And I adorned you with ornaments and put bracelets on your wrists and a chain on your neck.And I put a ring on your nose and earrings in your ears and a beautiful crown on your head. Thus you were adorned with gold and silver, and your clothing was of fine linen and silk and embroidered cloth. You ate fine flour and honey and oil. You grew exceedingly beautiful and advanced to royalty.And your renown went forth among the nations because of your beauty, for it was perfect through the splendor that I had bestowed on you, declares the Lord GOD.”

We see in this Scripture, that God takes His bride, and enhances her natural beauty.

“The body left in its natural state is an ideal that we never see in Scripture.”

His clothing us, is a ‘type’ (a shadow of something to come) of Him covering us with His blood.

We are gloriously redeemed, let us display that.

How Beauty goes from Good to Bad to Ugly

If we continue to read on that story in Ezekiel, we see that God’s people sorely abused the lavishing that God had bestowed upon them, and played the whore to all the nations, she misused her beauty. So….God removed it from her.

Ezekiel 16:15-22

““But you trusted in your beauty and played the whore because of your renown and lavished your whorings on any passerby; your beautybecame his. You took some of your garments and made for yourself colorful shrines, and on them played the whore. The like has never been, nor ever shall be.  You also took your beautiful jewels of my gold and of my silver, which I had given you, and made for yourself images of men, and with them played the whore.  And you took your embroidered garments to cover them, and set my oil and my incense before them.  Also my bread that I gave you—I fed you with fine flour and oil and honey—you set before them for a pleasing aroma; and so it was, declares the Lord GOD.  And you took your sons and your daughters, whom you had borne to me, and these you sacrificed to them to be devoured. Were your whorings so small a matter that you slaughtered my children and delivered them up as an offering by fire to them?  And in all your abominations and your whorings you did not remember the days of your youth, when you were naked and bare, wallowing in your blood.””

I would encourage you to go read Ezekiel 16 to the end…it just stunned me how much God expounds on His unfaithful people. And here again in Isaiah…

Isaiah 3:16-24

“The LORD said: Because the daughters of Zion are haughty and walk with outstretched necks, glancing wantonly with their eyes, mincing along as they go, tinkling with their feet, therefore the Lord will strike with a scab the heads of the daughters of Zion, and the LORD will lay bare their secret parts.

In that day the Lord will take away the finery of the anklets, the headbands, and the crescents; the pendants, the bracelets, and the scarves;the headdresses, the armlets, the sashes, the perfume boxes, and the amulets; the signet rings and nose rings; the festal robes, the mantles, the cloaks, and the handbags; the mirrors, the linen garments, the turbans, and the veils.

Instead of perfume there will be rottenness; and instead of a belt, a rope; and instead of well-set hair, baldness; and instead of a rich robe, a skirt of sackcloth; and branding instead of beauty.”

Another thing to note:

“Beauty is not dangerous, we are.”

Matthew 5:16 “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”

We need to remember that we are being watched, whether we care or not.

You are a billboard, what are you writing on it? Or are you trying to tear it down?

I Timothy 2:9 “likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire,”

In this verse, we find the word “kosmios”, or in English “cosmos”. It means orderly, virtuous, decent, modest, well-ordered. The cosmos is the universe, a single spoken sentence, things are unified, and ordered.

The mind, body, and soul are not separate units, but they are one person.

Your personality, intelligence, and outward appearance ought to be unified.

We also see the word “kosmeó” which means to decorate or put into order. This verse also lists modest and self-control, and when I looked up their Greek words and meanings, they are more like character qualities than descriptions of outward beauty, such as shamefacedness, discretion, and sanity. (for more references to the character qualities of inner beauty, look up I Peter 3:3-4)

God created beauty, because it is a facet of Himself, it is not to be used for seduction.

Our culture has a ‘simple’ formula for understanding their reasoning for doing things.

Subjectivity —> Objectivity —> Culture —> Religion Externalized

For example:

Subjectivity – I want to be sexy.

Objectivity – I want this because its an idol, because someone else is sexy and I want to be like that person.

Culture – I want this because it is the cultural norm, its cool to be this way, if im not this way I’m excluded, an outcast, worthless.

Religion Externalized – atheism, there is nothing after death, thus enjoy as much as possible now, whatever feels good…do it.

What are some biblical ideals of beauty?

“Beauty is not 22 years old.”

We do find a few things in the Bible that are listed as beautiful.

–          Youth

–          White hair

–          Sarah was called beautiful (I think she was 100+ years old at that point too!)

….yes I do realize that to stop right here is sort of nonconclusive, but this is all I have for now. I hope that you have enjoyed my thoughts on this lecture done by the lovely Botkin ladies.

God bless!

~ Jessica Blomgren September 29, 2012

~N

 

What Will They Say To Say To Shadrach, Meshach, And Abednego?

By Chuck Baldwin

May 10, 2012

Archived column:
http://chuckbaldwinlive.com/home/archives/4823

Let me start with a story. A man who had survived the great Johnstown
flood died and went to Heaven. And not long after, all of the
inhabitants of Heaven were allowed to take center stage and tell
everyone about the most significant event that had happened to them
while on Earth. The man couldn’t wait to tell everyone about his
surviving the great Johnstown flood. After a long wait in line, it was
finally his turn. The man was so excited to tell everyone his story.
But just as he was climbing the stairs to the platform, an angel
leaned over to him and whispered, “Don’t forget; Noah is in the
audience.”

I am reminded of that story when I read the Scriptural passage in
Hebrews 12: “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so
great a cloud of witnesses.” The witnesses the Apostle speaks of are
the great champions who have gone on before us, which are mentioned in
chapter eleven. Included by implication in the great “Hall of
Faith” of Hebrews 11 are the three young Hebrews: Shadrach, Meshach,
and Abednego (verse 34, “Quenched the violence of fire.”)

So, what was it that got these three young men included in this list
that along with the likes of Abraham, Moses, and David? You’ll find
their story in Daniel chapter three. In a nutshell, they refused to
bow down to the image of the king. In other words, THEY DISOBEYED A
CIVIL GOVERNMENT THAT HAD BECOME TYRANNICAL. And for refusing to
submit to the king, they were thrown into a burning fiery furnace.

Come to think of it, many of the people named in the Hebrews 11
“Hall of Faith” got there because of civil disobedience. Speaking
of Moses, the Scripture says, “By faith he forsook Egypt, not
fearing the wrath of the king.” So, when did Moses forsake Egypt?
When he killed the Egyptian taskmaster who was beating a Hebrew slave
to death. That’s when!

Rahab is also mentioned in this Biblical “Hall of Faith.” Who was
Rahab, and what did she do? She was a prostitute who lied to
government soldiers and helped the Hebrew spies escape the city of
Jericho. Gideon, Barak, Samson, and Jephthae are also listed. Who are
they, and what did they do? They were men who led armed rebellions
against oppressive governments to which they had been subject.

Daniel is inferred in Hebrews 11 when it says, “Stopped the mouths
of lions.” What did he do? He refused to submit to his civil
government when commanded to not pray aloud (for only thirty days).
And for refusing to submit to his government, he was cast into a den
of hungry lions. Yes, God delivered Daniel from the lions and the
three young Hebrews from the burning furnace of fire. But the point
is, they each DISOBEYED civil government, and God brags on them for it
in Hebrews 11.

So, what are all these “Romans 13-ers” going to say to Daniel,
Moses, and Gideon when they get to Heaven? What are they going to say
to Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego? What are they going to say to
those men who “overthrew kingdoms” (Heb. 11:33), “waxed valiant
in combat” (vs. 34), and “turned to flight . . . armies”?
(Armies are government-sanctioned, government-supported,
government-ordered entities–vs. 34.)

I cannot count the number of times I have heard some TV or radio
preacher say something to the effect, “Well, I’m glad we were
given freedom here in the United States, but our Founding Fathers were
wrong to rebel against the British Crown. According to Romans 13, they
should have submitted to King George.” Barf! Gag! Spit! What
hypocrisy!

To all of the Romans 13 Pharisees out there, I say, if you are really
going to believe and preach that garbage, at least be honest enough to
stop celebrating Independence Day on July 4. It was the day when men
became traitors to Great Britain and officially declared a
revolutionary war. And stop flying the Stars and Stripes in your
church auditoriums. It was the flag of rebellion. How dare you say
America’s founders violated Romans 13 in one breath and with the
next breath say you thank God for the freedom that was purchased AT
THE SACRIFICE OF THE BLOOD OF THE MEN YOU SAY VIOLATED ROMANS 13!
Pardon me, but I just cannot think of anything that is more
hypocritical than that!

And remember this about Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego: it was AFTER
they disobeyed their king and were thrown into the furnace of fire
that they met the Son of God. It was King Nebuchadnezzar who said,
“I see four men loose . . . the fourth is like the Son of God.”
(Daniel 3:25)

Think about it: where did Moses meet the Lord? In the wilderness by a
burning bush after he had defied Egyptian tyranny by killing an
Egyptian taskmaster who was beating a Hebrew slave to death. Where did
Gideon meet the Lord? In a threshing floor as he willowed his grain in
defiance of evil civil authority. When did Stephen meet the Lord? When
political and religious leaders were stoning him to death for refusing
to submit to their iniquitous injunctions. And think of this, too:
where did the Lord Jesus meet man? On a bloody Roman cross–being
placed there by the civil and religious rulers of His day.

Most Christians today are looking to meet the Lord in a heated or air
conditioned church sanctuary with padded pews and ornate windows, with
an orchestra playing and a choir singing, and fried chicken waiting
for them after the service. But that’s not where you’re going to
find the Fourth Man.

When you resist the religious Pharisees who are trying to intimidate
and coerce you into submitting to their legalism and tyranny, then you
will see the Fourth Man. When you resist the power establishment that
demands that you accept their politically correct philosophies and
ideologies, then you will see the Fourth Man. When you refuse to be
bought, bribed, or bullied by the “good old boy” network that
seeks to control you, then you will see the Fourth Man. When you
resist your family and friends who try to shame you into abandoning
the principles of liberty and freedom that God, Himself, has planted
in your heart, then you will see the Fourth Man. When you are
threatened and persecuted and you say, “I must obey God rather than
men,” then you will see the Fourth Man.

Do you really think you’re going to find the One who went to a
bloody cross in a meadow of roses? The only roses He knew were the
ones whose thorns were smashed on his skull. You won’t find him in a
garden, unless it’s the Garden of Gethsemane. You’ll find the One
who went to the Cross in the same place that Shadrach, Meshach, and
Abednego found Him: in the Burning Fiery Furnace.

God said told us that when we pass through the floodwaters, and when
we walk through the fire, we would find Him to be with us. (Isaiah
43:2)

Of course, let me be careful to say that real Christians are
peacemakers. They desire to live a quiet and peaceable life with their
neighbors, their civil authorities, and even with other nations. They
readily recognize and respect lawful, God-ordained authority. But, at
the same time, they will not surrender that which is holy and give it
to swine! They absolutely will not become toadies for unlawful
government that attempts to usurp the God-given authority and
jurisdiction to which it has been divinely assigned!

I am often reminded of this quote from Mahatma Gandhi: “There are,
I am sorry to say, many Temples in our midst in this country which are
no better than brothels.”

Gandhi’s quote could be said of many so-called churches in America
today, for they, too, have become little more than glorified brothels
that pimp for the government. “Submit! Obey! Don’t resist!” they
constantly preach. I wonder what they will say one day to Shadrach,
Meshach, and Abednego?

 “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” ~Matythew 5:10-12

“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” ~James 1:2-4

“Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.” ~James 1:12

 

~Nechet