Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Joy and Gladness

O. T. #1102 "Joy and Gladness"
Nov. 22, 2017
Esther 8-Part 3


LET IT GLOW

Mordecai wrote the new proclamation in full authority of King Xerxes. It was signed, sealed, and delivered to all 127 provinces in many languages.  It allowed the Jews to protect themselves, take their enemies' plunder, and the attack would only last for one day.

Mordecai left the presence of the king wearing royal apparel of blue and white, and with a great crown of gold, and with a garment of fine linen and fine purple. The Jews in the city of Susa rejoiced and was glad.

How did the Jews react through the Persian  empire as Mordecai became the new Prime Minister and he wrote a new decree?
Verse 16 tells us: The Jews had light, and gladness, and joy, and honor.

So I looked up the meaning of these words in the Hebrew language as used here:
Light  means luminousness; prosperity; also, a plant (as being bright). 
Gladness refers to glee, joy, pleasure, rejoicing.
Joy as the same word with the same meaning as gladness.

Do you think the faces of the Jews lit up and their smile was a yard long? Were they dancing a jig of joy? Were songs of praise to their God heard everywhere? Did Esther hear her people celebrating after the day of confrontations was finally over. Can you just see her smile as she, too, had a grateful heart as she fell asleep?

Light is what God offers us, for Jesus is the Light of the world. He is gladness, joy, and honor of the world, also.

Romans 5:8-9 says, But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.

Now if that doesn't get the clapper in our bell ringing, then our clapper is broken. If you are not filled with joy today, dear one, come to Jesus and He will give you something to be glad about.

LET IT GROW

And many of the people of the land became Jews; for the fear of the Jews fell upon them. (verse 17b)
The word fear, as used in this verse, refers to a sudden alarm, dread, terror.

The people of Persia, who worshiped idols, recognized Almighty God working for His beloved Israel. Do you think they did not want His judgment upon them as it fell upon Haman? Nor did they want the wrath of their king upon them?

It is not our relationship with Jesus Christ that counts; it is our resemblance to Him. (Ray Stedman's The Queen and I)

Are we obeying what God has purposed for us to do, for such a time as this? This too shall  pass, so take heart and hope. The Lord steps in to make things right, just when He is needed the most. He did for the Jews and He will for us. He can heal hearts and hurts.

LET IT GO
                     ... and let God handle things in my life.
                                ... and watch God handle things.
                                ... accepting His will as mine.
                                ... showing joy and gladness in Him.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

When the Wheels Turn in a Different Direction

O. T. #1101 "When the Wheels Turn in a Different Direction" 
Nov. 21,2017
Esther 8-Part 2

LET IT GLOW

Just last week we had an appointment with our insurance agent. My husband had signed up for Medicare, so it was time for us to look at the new options for our medical coverage. He thought he remembered the way to the insurance office, but then it did not turn out that way. He had to make call for the address and I Googled the directions. Yeah, our wheels had to turn in a different direction for us to reach to our destination. And that we did, too.
Now, I can say the same thing has happened to us before, metaphorically speaking. We were on the road of ministry when suddenly things happened and we were turned to serve in a different place. God can change our direction, turning the wheels suddenly. We needed to be willing to be turned.
Things certainly changed in the Persian palace, too. Take a peak with me.

Even though King Xerxes gave Esther and Mordecai the house of Haman, that did not spare the Jews at all. Things were still no better for them than before Haman's death. The edict was still in place to kill the Jews on that day in December. Look at what Esther asked the king in verse 6:

How can I endure to see the evil that shall come unto my people? Or how can I endure to see the destruction of my kindred?

So the king instructed the queen and her cousin:
  • to immediately order a new decree;
  • with free hand to write its wording;
  • keeping in mind of the Persian law which says no decree signed and sealed with his ring could never be revoked.
Here's the pen, so write an overriding edict. Can you imagine the excitement and relief upon Esther after such a time as this? She had sacrificed her own life to go before the king without an invitation, making the accusation of Haman being the one who instigated the upcoming of the annihilation of the Jews, and then asking the request for another law saving the Jews. Esther's pleas were granted by the king.

Friends, when God gets the wheels turning, things change quickly and often in an entirely different direction.  He can move people and circumstances to accomplish His will. God can answer our prayers. It may take time, but our faith must not waver. There is no wall so thick that God can't penetrate, as we have seen happen in the king's heart.

Are you waiting on your pleas to be answered? Elizabeth, John the Baptist's mother, waited. So did Hannah, Prophet Samuel's mother. At the appointed time, both women were given sons, which was their plea. Let's take our hands off of the situation and give God control. Then we can give Him glory as we see Him working.

LET IT GROW

The new prime minister, Mordecai, got on it right away. The right of self-defense law was composed:
  • The Jews could assemble and protect themselves against any armed force of any nationality who attacked. They were allowed to defend themselves.
  • Its time of conflict was limited to just one day, the 13th of Adar.
  • Also, the Jews could take the plunder and ownership of their attackers' possessions.
  • Hundreds of copies in each language were issued in all 127 provinces throughout the Persian empire.
  • It went out by mules and camels with great haste, being pressed for time, to carry out the king's command.
  • Hope was spread to the Jews once again. (Swindoll said they had 9 months to prepare.)
Dear ones, we are pressed for time, so let us share the gospel of our Saving Savior and His salvation. Whether by mule or camel, plane or bus, or even foot, let us be faithful to take His mercy and grace and love to a dying world. The message is urgent. Jesus will be returning one day and time will be out.

Let us not be afraid of what another may write or speak against us. We live in the shelter Most High and We abide in the shadow of the Almighty as Psalm91:1 assures us.

When God steps in to rewrite the record, the results are amazing. (Swindoll)

LET IT GO

                                ...the control of the wheel of our life so God can turn us in His direction.
                                ... so God can bless us.
                                ... so my faith can grow.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Crumbling Walls

O. T. #1,100 "Crumbling Walls"
Nov. 20, 2017
Esther 8
And Esther spake yet again before the king, and fell down at his feet, and besought him with tears to put away the mischief of Haman the Agagite, and his device that he had devised against the Jews.  Esther 8:3

LET IT GLOW

All  walls fall eventually. Down through time, great empires' walls fell, crumbling into pieces-Egyptian, Grecian, Roman, German, and Russian.
Even city walls have fallen, like Jericho. God is all powerful and can bring down walls, as we read about today. You know, people build up walls around their heart so no one can break it into pieces. They become hard and calloused. Often they lash out at others, hurting them. However, God can break down those hostile walls and slash open the hardened heart, making it soft again.

Corrie ten Boom wrote in her book, The Hiding Place, words her sister Betsie ten Boom, a Nazi prisoner said,
There is no pit so deep but that He is not deeper still. 
There is no heart so hard that God cannot change it. Corrie and Betsie endured so much during their lifetime. Thy were hiding the Jews, which the Nazis sought to kill them.
We have seen an example of this with mighty King Xerxes. God, through the lovely Esther, melted the Persian king's heart. He didn't want her, as well as hero Mordecai, and their Jewish family to be killed because he was tricked by evil Haman into making such a law. However, his hands were tied. No Persian law could be changed.

Even though the law did not change, other things changed after Haman was hung:
  • Esther was given Haman's house/estate.
  • Mordecai was promoted to be Prime Minister.
  • The King gave Mordecai his signet ring of authority.
  • Esther appointed her cousin as head of Haman's estate.
Talk about a time of promotions. No stubborn, strong will, powerful person's heart cannot be penetrated by God. Even a king as Proverbs 21:1-2 says. Granite-like stone hearts can change into putty and mush in the hands of God.

Will we go to our God in prayer when someone intimidates or bullies us, shoots us in the heart with hateful words or lies?
When their goal in life is to make our life miserable, remember that God can break down walls. He can soften hearts.

How timely these words are. I have experienced such a thing this week. Words chopped up my heart, broke it into pieces, and they were from people I respected and loved. But I am an overcomer. I am trusting God to handle the situation and the bitter people. In all my years of ministry, I have never been so crushed by condemning words. But I'm getting out of that pit with Jesus' loving arms lifting me. Jesus loves me, this I know.

LET IT GROW

Hey, Haman may be gone, but his edict was not; he may be dead, but his edict was still alive. It was written, so it will be done. The Jews would die in December. We can't skip over verse 3, ya'll.
What happened?
  • Esther spoke to the king again.
  • She fell at his feet. 
  • Esther besought the king with tears, to put away Haman's mischief and his devise against the Jews.
In the Hebrew language, besought means to bend or stoop in kindness to an inferior; to favor; to implore (move to favor by petition); have pity upon; pray; make supplication.
Devise refers to intention, plan, (whether bad, a plot; or good, advice); cunning, curious work; purpose.

Esther again humbled herself before the king, making a petition which interceded for her family. The king accepted her presence by extending the golden scepter. And the queen arose to present her request to her king.
Esther asked that King Xerxes to write a second decree to save her people, reversing Haman's Decree of Extermination.

Is this situation is a wall so thick that God cannot penetrate the wall? Is there hope for the Jews, Queen Esther, the new Prime Minister Mordecai? We will discuss the results next time.

Here are some things to ponder: Will we stand against the laws of our land that are morally wrong-abortion, homosexuality, abuse?
Are we willing to give up everything, risking our life to save others? Esther and Mordecai were willing and did. Remember, they broke the Persian laws. When God is honored, He is glorified. His love defends us.

LET IT GO

Fall at the feet of King Jesus, seek His will, laying my request before Him.
Ask for hearts to change.
Leave revenge to Him.
Stand for the right, against the wrong.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Hung on His Own Gallows

O. T. #1099 "Hung on His Own Gallows"
Nov. 17, 2017
Esther 7-Part 2


LET IT GLOW

Haman had seen better days. Yeah, he thought he had the world by the tail on a down hill swing, so to speak. After all, he had built gallows for his enemy Mordecai to hang on that day, was going to get rid of the Jews soon, and was promoted  second in command in the mighty empire of Persia. And then, he had been special guest at the queen's banquet as only he and the king attended. It was the best day, ever, or so Haman must have thought. His best day became his worse day.

When the king asked his queen hat her request was, Esther replied that her life and the lives of her people would be spared. The king asked who would do such a thing, then Esther answered "Haman."
Then the king jumped to his feet in a rage and went out into the palace garden.
Haman had deceived the king, misled him to make a decree of extermination of the Jews, thus planned a conspiracy to kill his queen and her adoptive father, the king's hero. He betrayed the king's trust.

But the wheels changed directions for Haman that day. God's sovereignty would be surprising to all concerned. God is God and He will have His way for His glory and timing. Since God alone is God, and He does things well, good is His goal, then I can trust Him to work all things out.

Do we wait upon Him to do so? Do we stand when we are supposed to?


LET IT GROW

Here goes. Haman stayed behind in the room with Queen Esther, to plead for his life. He knew the king intended to kill him.

In despair he fell on the couch where Queen Esther was reclining, just as the king was returning from the palace garden. (verse 8 NLT)

The king saw Haman as assaulting the queen, in the palace, and right before his eyes. Immediately, the king's guards covered Haman's face, a signal of doom. The king's servant informed him that Haman had 75' gallows built for Mordecai. The king ordered Haman to be executed on those gallows.

Haman reaped what he had sown. Whatever a person sows, they will reap, as it happens to them. In the same way, whatever a person measures, it will be measured back to him. God's justice will be exact. Whatever we dish out and measure in life, the same portion will be doled out and measured to us.  (The Preacher's Outline and Sermon Bible)

LET IT GO

Let God take revenge for us.
Stand for God's principles.
Consider it a privilege to suffer for doing right.
Deny myself, take up my cross, and follow Jesus.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Who Would Do Such a Thing?

O. T. #1098  "Who Would Do Such a Thing?"
Nov. 14, 2017
Esther 7


LET IT GLOW

There are so many gross and detestable sins committed in our world. And we wonder who would so such a thing? Why would they do it? What caused them to do it? A three letter word called sin. Haman had allowed hatred for the Jews to cause him to get the king to make a law that would annihilate the Jews. but the tables are about to turn on him. Come with me to the Queen Esther's second banquet with the king and Haman only attending.

Haman had no idea what was to come. He had been warned by his wife and friends to let it go, let dead dogs lie, stop his plot to exterminate the Jews. But would he listen, no. Then it was time for Esther's banquet. The king's men came and took Haman to the palace.

What is thy petition, Queen Esther? And what shall I grant thee: and what is thy request? And it shall be performed,  even to the half of the kingdom. That is what the king said to his queen after the wonderful meal was eaten.

It's time, Esther. You were selected to be the deliverer of the Jews from death, God's chosen beloved Israel. You have become queen for such a time as this. Go girl. Spit it out. Stand up against that evil Haman. Yes, God had raised her up for this very purpose. ESTHER DID NOT FAIL HER GOD, HER UNCLE, NOR HER JEWISH FAMILY.

How will we act when it  time for us to stand for the right to prevail?

LET IT GROW

Esther laid it all out. No doubt the  king was expecting her to ask for some material thing, some journey, or more time with him. Her request would have been a shock to the king.

If I have found favor with the king, and if it pleases the king to grant my request, I ask that my life and the lives of my people will be spared. For my people and I have been sold to those who would kill, slaughter, and annihilate us. ( verse 3-4 NLT)

Who would do such a thing? Who would be so presumptuous as to touch you, the queen? Who is it? Where is he? The king demanded to know who it was.
(What do you mean "who?" Come on king, you signed the edict and sealed it into law. Did you have a senior moment, forgetting it was done by Haman? Can you admit you were tricked, deceived?)

This wicked Haman is our adversary and our enemy. (Yes, Esther did it!!!Whoo hoo!)

Just as Haman's evil was exposed, so all sin will be exposed by God. Sin may be done behind closed doors, or only to our self and not others, or out in the open, but sin is sin. God sees everything.

The culprit was present. Haman was afraid before the king and the queen. Reckon he shook in his boots, melted like butter, panicked? He was struck with terror. His evil plot was exposed.

Nothing is accidental. In His time and only in His time, God begins to move in subtle ways until, suddenly, as His surprising sovereignty unfolds, a change occurs. Don't fight it. It's God way of lifting the fog, which always happens when He pleases. The turning points of life, the significant events, are often subtle. A sensitive heart is required to detect those changes. (Swindoll)

We hear of shocking news-mass killings of innocent people, kidnappings and horrible treatment of victims, babies killed in the womb, trafficking of women and children, child abuse, mean coworkers, mean church members. The list goes on.
Folks, we aren't in heaven yet, where only loving people will dwell. Dogs won't eat dogs there, but will obey the Master.


LET IT GO

In the middle of the storm, hold onto Jesus. He is my anchor.
When hateful words break my heart into pieces, allow Jesus' love and grace to put it back together.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Plans Against Us

O. T. #1097 "Plans Against Us"
Nov. 13, 2017
Esther 6-Part 2


LET IT GLOW

When King Xerxes asked Haman how he could reward a person, he did not identify Mordecai as the person. As it ended up, Haman, who hated and was the enemy of Mordecai, had to parade Mordecai through the streets of Susa. A little ironic, isn't it. Now, everyone was required to bow down to Mordecai. Afterwards, Mordecai returned to the king's gate. (Haman had gallows built for Mordecai, but it would not happen. Keep this in mind for later.) God has a way of humbling the prideful. Haman was disgraced and ran home.

Look at verse 13. Haman's advisors and wife said, Since Mordecai-this man who has humiliated you-is of Jewish birth, you will never succeed in your plans against him. It will be fatal to continue opposing him. 

Evil will not prevail, dear one. Trust God. He will make things right. No weapon formed against us shall stand. (Isaiah 54:17)

Do we head advice given us when we are in the wrong?
Are we willing to stand for the right, no matter if we suffer doing so?

LET IT GROW

While they were  still talking, the king's men came and quickly took Haman to Esther's second banquet.

Jesus taught in Luke 14:11, people who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who are humbled will be exalted.

Be patient, for God promises to reward our good deeds. He steps in when it will do the most good.

Let God handle those roaring lions. Remember, Daniel didn't get eaten by them. He was put in their den because he was faithful to pray to God.

LET IT GO

Stay humbled, faithful.
Pray for my enemies.

Friday, November 10, 2017

When All Seems Lost

O. T. #1096 "When All Seems Lost"
Nov. 10, 2017
Esther 6
The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.  Hebrews13:6

LET IT GLOW

I can't sleep. Bring me a history book. What? Are you kidding me? Well, that's how it went with King Xerxes. (Probably not our choice.) After Esther's first banquet for the king and Haman, the king could not sleep that night. Was he thinking about his queen? Did he overeat? Did he drink too much wine? Hmm. No, I tend to think God kept the king awake.  The Lord was working on his heart. A series of events were about to take place that would change the history of the Jews. God was continuing to fulfill His promises made to Abraham, Moses, and David.

In the historical records, the king discovered that Mordecai, who exposed an assassination plot to kill  the king. The king asked his attendant what reward of recognition had been given Mordecai. Nothing had been done, though. Shall we peek in on the situation?
  • Haman was in he outer court during that time, so the king had him brought inside.
  • Haman was there to ask the king to put Mordecai on the 75 foot pole as punishment for not honoring Haman.
  • Instead, the king asked Haman,, "What should I do to honor a man who truly pleases me?"
  • Haman suggested the honored man be paraded through the streets, riding upon the king's horse, dressed in the king's robe and crown. The official shouts, "This is what the king does for someone he wishes to honor!"
  • The king approved of Haman's idea. He instructed Haman to do so to Mordecai the Jew. Can you see Haman's jaw drop, struggling to breathe?
  • Haman did as the king ordered him to do.
  • But afterwards, Haman hurried home dejected and completely humiliated. (verses 1-13)
Although Mordecai refused to honor Haman, Haman had to honor Mordecai. What goes around comes around. Things are seldom what they seem. When things go wrong, it may seem like they cannot possible get any worse, but they often do. Probably that was the way Mordecai felt before he was rewarded.
Anyone feeling that way today? Continue reading.

You know this reminds me of Revelation when it says Jesus will be riding a white horse, the King of kings, Faithful and True. All will pay Him homage and honor then.

LET IT GROW

Swindoll gives  us 4 principles from this:
  1. When all seems lost, it isn't.
  2. When no one seems to notice, they do.
  3. When everything seems great, it's not.
  4. When nothing seems just, it is.
Although Haman was having gallows built for Mordecai, the Jew wasn't licking his wounds, having a pity party. Mordecai was trusting in God.
Time had passed since Mordecai's great act. He received no reward, appreciation, notice, until one night. He never was a revengeful person. When no one else seems to notice, God does notice.
Haman's suggestion as to how the king should reward a person was what he wanted. However, the tables turned on Haman. He as forced to carry out the king's wishes, even with a tight lip and sour attitude. Who can keep from smiling here?

God was invisible, but not out of touch or passive, friends. He had not forgotten His people nor the promises made to them and to their enemies. He would bless those who bless the Jews and curse those who curse them. When God seems absent, He is present. He is in charge. Humbly on our knees, let's yield to His will.  God never turns His back on anyone who comes to Him by the way of the cross.

Will we strut around like peacock Haman or humbly sit at the gate like Mordecai?

LET IT GO
God is just and notices us. He knows our heart. Wait on God. Trust His timing and methods. Honor Him when He comes through for us.