Thursday, November 30, 2017

Grace and Favor

O. T. #1106  "Grace and Favor"
Nov. 30, 2017
Summary of Esther
And the king loved Esther above all the women, and she obtained grace and favor in his sight...
Esther 2:1a

In this book, one of only two which are named after women, features Esther, a lovely, young Jewish girl who becomes queen of the most powerful empire of the world at that time, Persia. We see her bravery and faith as she risked her life whenever she approached the king without an invitation. Also, she named the enemy of her people, the Jews, who initiated the law to wipe out the chosen people of God. Thus, Haman was killed. Ether and her cousin Mordecai, who becomes the new prime minister, make  new edict which allowed the Jews to defend themselves.

The Jeremiah Study Bible, by David Jeremiah, writs of three themes in this book, which can be a backdrop for the life of the believer:
  1. Divine Providence: It refers to God orchestrating the affairs of humanity by direct and indirect intervention and arrangement. The unlikely event of a modest, young Jewess being appointed queen of the most powerful nation on earth "for such a time" and purpose as Esther was, is a grand example. 
  2. The Hiddenness of God: God purposely guides His people's steps even when they are unaware of it and when things don't make sense. But God has  a purpose in what He does in the life of those He loves.
  3. Human Involvement: We are responsible  for walking though the doors the Lord opens. Mordecai and Esther stepped forward in faith without regard to their safety or reputation when they had opportunities. We see a balance between the will of God and the responsibilities of individuals.
During our walk of faith, are we looking for the divine providence of God, His hidden agenda and purpose for our life?
Are we thanking Him for our life and breath today?
Whatever our place in this world, God can use us to share His salvation message and to stand against the wrong.
Are we open, available, and ready to be used to do what others are afraid even to consider?


Haman had gallows built on which he planned for Mordecai to hang and die. Haman's wife warned him to not get his hopes up, for he was on his way outta there.
Do we think the are gallows prepared for you? Does it take on the form of a job termination, a fractured relationship, illness or surgery, emotional stress, or sudden loss?

Swindoll gives us some good advice: I have good news. Be still... deliberately pause and discover that God is God. Stoop reaching back into your own treasure of security. Stop trying to pull the strings yourself. Stop manipulating people and situations. Stoop making excuses for your irresponsibilities. Stop ignoring reality. Stop rationalizing your way through life.
Be quiet. The immortal, invisible, all-wise God, hid from your eyes, is at work. Listen. Be convinced that He is at work amid the gallows of your life.

Dear ones, let us be a woman (or man) of strength and dignity and faith, as Esther was.  One day, an ordinary day, will become a extraordinary day. Be ready for such  time as this for us to move, obeying by faith. Our gallows can become grace on which  we deny our self, take up our cross, and follow Jesus.
As Esther found grace and favor in the sight of he king, Xerses, so let us be humble before our King Jesus to receive His grace and favor.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

When Good Wins

O. T. #1105  "When Good Wins"
Nov. 28, 2017
Esther 10
He was y great among the Jews, who held him in high esteem, because he continued to work for the good of his people and to speak up for the welfare of all their descendants. Esther 10:b NLT


Don't you love it when a story has a good ending, when good wins? And so this one does. The people of Judah, the Hebrew, were  taken captive by the Babylonians, then the Medes, and Persians. Haman, an enemy of the Jews, persuaded the king to make a decree that on a certain day, all the Jews would be killed.

Since God was not going to allow this to happen, He raised up Esther, who became queen of Persia, for such a time as this. She risked her life to inform the king that the decree was going to include her and her people in the death sentence. Esther and her cousin, Mordecai were allowed to write another decree, allowing the Jews to defend themselves against the attack. As it turned out, about 76,000 of the enemies of the Jews were killed. Since then, annually, the Jews celebrate the Feast of Purim. They praise God for delivering them from extermination.

Looking at Mordecai's influence and greatness:
  • He was prime minister of an empire, second to the king in authority.
  • He was held in high esteem by many of his fellow Jews.
  • He served the king and the people by working for the good of all the people and by speaking up for the welfare of the Jews. (verse3)
  • He sought peace for the future generation of the Jews.
This great man built up, helped, and nurtured other people. Hasn't God put us here to serve Him and others? Loving, encouraging, and caring are ways we can achieve it. Will we be ready to act and stand for God when such a time comes?


I am reminded of others who became second in command of a great empire-Joseph in Egypt and Daniel in Babylon.

If all's well that ends well, we'd have to agree, this is "well." Who would have guessed that a Jew would become the prime minister n a Gentile land?

Swindoll points out three principles for our lives from this ancient book:
  1. When God wins, the people He uses are often unexpected. He lifted up a nobody at the king's gate and makes him prime minister.
  2. When God wins, the qualities He upholds are usually unpretentious. Mordecai didn't have that look of royalty. God used him and  cousin humble people from humble means.
  3. When God wins, the message He honors is a universal message. Mordecai's influence spread over 127 provinces.

Will we allow God to use us simple and humble people to carry His message to our particular circumstance? Christ gives us hope for a future out of this world. Amidst suffering, brokenness, losses, tears, and tragedies, the Light of the World is Jesus trying to shine through.


Trust God that He will eventually win.
Allow love to pour itself out right where I am.
Let the Light shine in a dark world.

Monday, November 27, 2017

A Good Day to Celebrate

O. T. #1104 "A Good Day to Celebrate"
Nov. 27, 2017
Esther 9-Part 2
As the days wherein the Jews rested from their enemies, and the month which was turned unto them from sorrow to joy, and from mourning into a good day: that they should make them days of feasting and joy, and sending portions one to another, and gifts to the poor.


Hey folks, as you read this, I am with my hubby celebrating our 45th anniversary with joy and gladness. Like most couples, we have had our ups and downs, but are enjoying more good days than not. God has blessed us with all these years of faithfulness to each other, with two great children and spouses, as well as 7 wonderful grandchildren. With 37 years of ministry, we have seen so many experience otherwise in their marriage. We have set aside a few days for just him and me. So hang in there, ya'll, it is possible to remain married, even during the toughest of times.
We have been reading about the tough times the Jews had while Xerxes was king. But God was in control and taking care of His children, as He does for us.

The Jews killed 75,000 their enemies. In Susa, they killed 800 plus the 10 sons of Haman. That was quite a victory, I'd say. It is not mentioned in Scriptures if any Jew lost their life during the 2 day
holocaust (dated March 7 and 8). God had delivered His beloved Israel once again. Now that was a reason to celebrate! And they certainly did just that.

The Jews rested on March 9, celebrating their victory with a day of feasting and gladness. So they made it their annual day of feasting and gladness as they celebrated it as a Jewish holiday called Purim. Indeed, it was a day of deliverance from death. They would send gifts of food to each other and presents to the poor. Mordecai recorded those events and sent letters to Jews near and far throughout the provinces. It was a day remembering that their sorrow was turned into gladness and their mourning into joy.
It is the first and last biblically revealed, non-Mosiac festival with perpetual significance. (MacArthur)


Why was it called "The Feast of Purim?"

Purim means a lot (as by means of a broken piece) in the Hebrew language.
Evil Haman had planned to crush and destroy the Jews on a particular date, which was determined by casting lots. Future generations would remember what happened.

Warren W. Wiersbe gives a description ;of the Jewish celebration of Purim:
Today, the Jews begin their celebration with a fast on the 13th day of the month (verse 31), commemorating the date on which Haman's evil decree was issued (3:12). They go to the synagogue and hear the Book of Esther publicly read; and whenever the name of Haman is mentioned, thy cry out, "May he be accursed!" or "May his name perish!" Children bring a special Purim rattle called a "gregar" and use it to make a noise every time they hear Haman's name read. r                                                                                                                                  
On the morning of the 14th day of the month, the Jews again go to the synagogue where the Esther story is red again and the congregation engages in prayer. The story about Moses and the Amalekites (Ex. 17:8-16) is also read. Then the celebrants go home to a festive holiday meal with gifts and special foods, and the celebrating continues on the next day. They also send gifts to the poor and needy so that everybody can rejoice together.

This reminds me of our Christmas celebration by Christians. We are joyful in that a Savior, Jesus Christ, was born, lived a perfect life, died for our sins to be paid for, and rose from the death, to be a Living Savior.
As Christians, we not fear spiritual death and judgment to come. God has delivered us from those. No longer do we need to be held in bondage to the sins of the world because of Jesus' blood.
Are we living in bondage or freedom?


Be thankful and praise God for salvation by faith through Jesus.
Share His love with others.
Help meet the needs of others.

Friday, November 24, 2017

One More Day

O. T. #1103  "One More Day"
Nov. 24, 2017
Esther 9


If only I had one more day. What a difference it would make. Who couldn't use one more day? Perhaps it would be used in preparation for the Christmas dinner or shop and prepare gifts, as well as decorating. (Maybe rest) When the 24th comes, I think we all might request that. Well, Queen Esther did request one more day for her Jewish family to defend themselves. Did it make a difference?

The dreaded day finally came. It was the day designated as the Jews' execution (our March 7). The enemies of the Jews hoped to overpower them, but it did not happen. The Jews were prepared to defend themselves against any attack, as well as assembling together to support each other. Mordecai's new decree allowed this.

The Jews fought back all right. What occurred on that day?
  • The Jews only killed those who wanted to kill them.
  • All of the rulers helped the Jews, including lieutenants, deputies, and officers of the king throughout the provinces.
  • In Susa the capital, 500 of the enemies were killed.
  • They killed the 10 sons of Haman.
  • However, the Jews did not take the property of those they killed, even though they were allowed to do so.
The Jews survived the Holocaust launched against them. On the dreaded day, things worked out for God's beloved people. Shouldn't we think the same for us? God will work it all out for us. He's our rescuer and deliverer.


When the king was informed of the victory in Susa, Xerxes called for Queen Esther. He was so pleased that he asked her what more she wanted, if she had another request. Of course, it would be done. Esther asked for permission for the Jews to have one more day to do as they had done that day and let the bodies of Haman's 10 sons be impaled upon the gallows.

The king agreed, so the decree was announced in Susa. On the next day, the Jews killed 300 more men, but took no possessions. Throughout the provinces the Jews killed 75,000 enemies that hated them.

Even this pagan king served the cause of utterly blotting out the Amalekites in accord with God's original decree (Ex.17:14) by allowing a second day of killing in Shushan to eliminate all Jewish enemies.(MacArthur)

So God has granted us one more day in which to live. What will we do with it? Will we share His love with others or do for our self?


Thank God for one more day to live and love Him.
Make a joyful noise unto the Lord.
Serve the Lord with gladness.
Come before His presence with singing.
Know that the Lord He is God.
It is He that has made us and not we ourselves.
We are His people, and the sheep of His pasture.
Enter into His gates with thanksgiving , and into His courts with praise:
be thankful unto Him, and bless His name.
For the Lord is good.
His mercy is everlasting.
His truth endureth to all generations.
(Psalm 100 tweeked)

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Joy and Gladness

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


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.


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.

                     ... 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


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.


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)


                                ...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


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.


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.


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


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?


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 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


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?


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.


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


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?


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.


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


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.


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?

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.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Waiting Until Tomorrow

O. T. #1095  "Waiting Until Tomorrow"
Nov. 9, 2017
Esther 5-Part 3
...let the king and Haman come to the banquet that I shall prepare for them, and I will do tomorrow as the king hath said. Esther 5:8


Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love ya tomorrow. You're only a breath away. (Words sung by Annie)

Tomorrow. There is something I want to say, request, of you, my dear king, but it can wait until tomorrow. Sometimes God's timing requires one more day. For sure it was in this story. In the lives of the Jews, Mordecai, and Esther, and certainly Haman. Are we willing to shift our agenda for God to have His way?

King Xerxes and his Prime Minister, Haman, had Esther's undivided attention. Twice the king asked his queen what her request was, but she waited to ask. She wanted to serve them another meal, then she'd ask.

Can't you just see the smiles on these three people's faces? Perhaps there as laughter in the room. Her cheerful countenance would have been a welcomed change since the king was dealing with ole Haman.

Why did Esther delay her request? Whatever the reason, God used the delay to further His purpose for Mordecai, Haman, and the Jewish people. While we are waiting, God is working. (D. Jeremiah)

Do we wait on the Lord to tell us when and how to get involved in  situation? The bigger the decision, the longer the wait.
Will we count on the Lord to open doors and hearts when dealing with unpredictable people?
When your ways please the Lord Jesus, even your enemies will be at peace with you. (Prov.16:7)
Are we trusting the Lord for enduing patience when in unpleasant situations? Timing is as important  action.
Do we pray for invincible courage when standing against an unprincipled enemy? (Swindoll)


So everyone left the banqueting hall. Haman must have thought how clever he was as he left the palace. He just had dinner with the king and queen, a threesome. He had a personal invitation from the lovely queen, too. Wait til he tells his wife and friends. Haman walked out of the palace whistling Dixie. He was on top of the world; had a joyful and glad heart, he did. Boy, does he have a shock of his life waiting on him tomorrow.

Now Haman turns his eye on Mordecai sitting at the king's gate. Again, Mordecai did not stand when to show respect to the Prime Minister, as the law said for all to do. Immediately, Haman's anger returned. Huh! e walked on, but this time he controlled himself, and went to his house. Haman sent for his friends and wife.

Ya-da, ya-da, brag, brag, me, me. Can you imagine listening to this blow-hard? No one can offend this self-centered guy, for he has the king's seal. Haman boasted about his wealth, children, honor, and promotion. Also, recognition by the queen. (verses 11-12)

Haman's only disappointment in life was Mordecai's refusal to honor him. His hatred consumed him so much to the point that only the death of his enemy would satisfy him. Listen to this-his wife and friends gave counsel, saying to:
  • build gallows 75 feet high;
  • ask he king the next day to hang Mordecai upon the gallows;
  • go to the dinner and be happy.
Haman's high opinion of himself would soon lift him high all right. The plan pleased the Prime Minister and he implemented it.

Are we careful to leave revenge to the Lord and not take not take it in our own hands? Ephesians 4:31-32 tells us to forgive and love others.


Wait faithfully on God's tomorrow.
Trust His timing.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

A Hand in a Glove

O. T. #1094  "A Hand in a Glove"
Nov. 8, 2017
Esther 5-Part 2
And Esther answered, If it seem good unto the king let the king and Haman come this day unto the banquet that I have prepared for him.  Esther 5:4


While my husband was down, allowing his new knee to heal, I could not stand it any longer. The yard had to be mowed after 3 weeks of growth. So I put on my gardening gloves and worked on the project. Even though it is a riding lawn mower, it definitely does not have power steering, nor is it one of those big boys that turn on a dime. I pulled and twisted the steering wheel, careful not to run over anything other than grass. (Was I so glad that the glove was protecting me of blisters.) At times, I put my whole body into the turns. Boy, did my shoulders feel it later. Also, I had to plan ahead when to turn the corners. Yes, the hand inside was certainly moving the glove. Esther had such an experience, too. Continue reading to see what I mean.

Darling Esther put on her beautiful queenly robes and walked to the entrance of the king's hall. Her sudden appearance without invitation could have meant death for her, but Xerxes bid her to enter. No doubt her appearance grabbed him, so the king held out his scepter to her, which allowed her entrance. Her touching its tip showed that she was grateful to that privilege.

The king asked his queen what she wanted, what her request was. He would grant it up to half of his kingdom. That was a custom of kings in that day, showing the person's request would be granted if it was within reason. With wisdom, Esther did not immediately ask for the termination of the Degree of Extermination. Instead, she asked the king and his prime minister to attend a banquet, that she had prepared, that very day. As soon as he could free himself, Esther wanted to spend with Xerxes.

Time was needed for other events to take place before her request. It was definitely not God's timing yet. Xerxes's heart needed to be prepared, made tender, soft, and favorable before she could accuse Haman, the Prime Minister. The royal court was not the place to expose the evil plot of the king's right hand man. Standing alone with those two would have better results. Esther had the chance to bring the roof down on Haman, but she used wisdom and waited for a better time. She was not in any hurry. Esther had been waiting upon the Lord. When we don't wait upon the Lord, we jump ahead, even run our mouth. Instead, we need to allow the Holy Spirit to control us.

At such moments, we're like a glove, and His hand is moving us wherever He pleases. (Swindoll)

Yep, Esther was allowing the Hand of God to move her. He used the very thing that she was good at.

The king's heart is like channels of water in the hand of the LORD; He turns it wherever he wishes.  Proverbs 21:1

No king ever intimidated God. He can handle anyone. That includes the person giving us grief. Any heart is like water in the Lord's hand. Are we waiting on Him to change hearts in our situation?


Did you realize that Esther had been preparing a meal while she had fasted? She had restraint there. Banquets were the king's thing. We recall the exquisite one he gave in the first chapter. Well, the three of them sat down to eat and get their tummies full.  Esther didn't point fingers, burst into tears, nor yell out accusations. When the king asked what his queen's request was, she simply invite the two men to another banquet tomorrow. Of course they accepted. After all, who could resist this beautiful lady and her meals?

God is full of surprises, so hang onto your hat. His timing required one more night and day.
Do we tend to forget that God is available to help us no matter our circumstances? He loves us and longs to help us.  Will we ask for it today?


Be the glove in which God's hand moves me in His direction.
Depend upon God's timing.
Be still and listen.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Waiting and Waiting

O. T. #1093  "Waiting and Waiting"
Nov. 7, 2017
Esther 5


Waiting-Standing in line to check out, expecting a phone call, an up coming appointment, counting down the days for a holiday. Waiting is hard for us. (I figure I'm not alone.) I tend to become anxious during the wait. My mind tends to wander into the "what ifs" and they usually aren't pretty.

Swindoll has some descriptions for the white space in his Bible between chapters 4 and 5 in Esther as: a silent yet eloquent interlude, a space of suspense, a grand pause, a waiting period, a silent yet powerful parenthesis in Esther's life.

Those 3 days of prayer and fasting would have been the longest days in her life, don't you think? Esther sent word to Mordecai that she and her maidens would do so and asked him to join her, plus the Jews in Susa. This queen needed direction from the God she worshiped. Before she entered the presence of the king of Persia, she entered the presence of the king of her heart-Jesus.

We aren't born with a sensitive conscience and a courageous heart. She learned it from her cousin, adoptive father, and mentor, Mordecai. Don't you think he knew how far he could stretch her with this challenge? Se was stretched out a far as she could go, like a rubber band before it sails across the room or snaps.And she did rise to the occasion.

Esther determined to wait on the Lord and allow Him to guide her thoughts and help her frame her words. Pray for me. Fast for me. We will see what God will do. The life of all the Jews, including Esther, was at stake here. What a responsibility put on this young gal.

God may be invisible, but He is at work. He can be moving in a thousand places at the same time, working in circumstances that are beyond our control. During the waiting period, God is not only working in our hearts, He's working in others' hearts. And all the while He is giving added strength.

Yet those who wait for the LORD
Will gain new strength;
They will mount up with wings like eagles,
They will run and not get tired,
They will walk and not become weary. 
 Isaiah 40:31

According to Swindoll, four things happen when we wait:
  1. We gain new strength.
  2. We get a better perspective.
  3. We store up extra energy.
  4. We will deepen our determination to persevere.
Okay, sounds like waiting is not a bad thing, but it sure is a difficult thing to practice.
Other verses to read are Is. 41:10,13; Ps. 32:6-8.
God will instruct us and teach us in the way we should go, guiding us with His eye. If we are watching for His movement and direction, listening to His Word along the way, then we will know what to do next.

[Resource: Esther, a Woman of Strength and Dignity by Charles Swindoll]


Those 3 intense days were worth it. God gave Esther a plan, His plan. After she fasted, Esther was to give a couple of banquets for the king and Haman. We will get to that later, though.
Read verses 1 and 2.
What occurred as Esther's moment of truth came, for she was there for such a time as this?
  • She put on her royal robes, after all, she was the queen.
  • She stood calmly, wisely, and confidently in the inner court of the king's palace in front of the king's rooms.
  • The king was sitting on his royal throne in the throne room, which was opposite the entrance to the palace. (Gulp, clear throat)
  • And it happened....the king saw his beautiful queen standing in the court.
  • She found favor in his sight, as the king extended the golden scepter in his right hand to her.
  • So Esther came near and touched the top of the scepter.
Can you imagine how quiet it was at that moment? The jaws of the guards dropped. Esther stood all and confident in the Lord before the most powerful man in the empire. Without that gesture of the scepter, she would have died. Esther made the connection with the king. How he must have loved this gal.

You and I are loved by the King of kings. He extends a hand of mercy to us when we enter His throne room. We sinners can come into the presence of a perfect Savior, the Son of the Living God that sits upon the throne. How astounding it is. We can't explain it. We don't deserve such a privilege. He is a good, good Father, perfect in all of His ways, and we are loved by Him. All the while, He knows our heart beat, what is breaking it, and wants to fix it for us, a child of the King-Jesus.

Will we meet with Him? Or will we continue on our way, carrying a baggage of  burdens?

LET IT GO and Let God...

Continue to ask, seek, knock.
Wait for the answers and directions of God.

*Friends, let's continue to pray for our hurting brothers and sisters in Texas. The nation is watching to see if their faith fails or is strengthened through this horrible time. To see what good comes from an evil act. Shall we enter the throne room asking God to be honored and the lost saved?

Monday, November 6, 2017

Facing a Hard Thing

O. T. #1091  "Facing a Hard Thing"
Nov. 6, 2017
Esther 4-Part 2
...if I perish, I perish. Esther 4:16


What has been the hardest thing you have done lately? About three years ago, the opportunity came for me to tell my testimony and life story to a room full of teenage girls. I had everything planned and written out, as the Lord led. What I lacked was courage to tell it. You see, many church members and gals would hear some not so good experiences I went through in my early life. I had kept them secret. but if God could use me to reach others, I knew I had to do it. He gave me that courage as I knelt in a prayer closet, alone. It turned out fine. Esther faced a similar situation, yet hers could require her life.

Don't kid yourself, Esther knew what she had to do. She was a bright gal, but it would be the hardest thing she ever did, risking her life. She needed courage and details from God.

As Queen Esther faced a desperate situation of facing the king of Persia without an invitation, which could mean her death, she first faced her God, desperate for His instructions. Her cousin Mordecai told Esther to go plead with the king for the lives of the Jews to be spared. (Haman had convinced the king to set a date for the killing of all the Jews because they were in rebellion against him.)

Esther would be risking everything-her life since Persian law prohibited one from talking to the king without being invited; the lives of her Jewish family if she did not do so; God's chosen nation of people would not continue to provide the lineage for the Messiah, Jesus Christ.

Esther and her maidens prayed and fasted for 3 days about the matter. Mordecai and the Jews of Susa prayed and fasted for the matter and Esther, too.

Only God could give victory in changing the law of destruction with His power. Only God can give us peace and a plan, and courage carry them out.

Many times God's Word tells us to be strong and courageous, as He did those in the story:
Deut. 31:6; Joshua 1:6, 10:25, 23:6-8; 2 Samuel 10:12; 1 Chron. 19:13, 23:13, 28:20


We may not know how our circumstances will change, how our situation will turn out, but God will hear us, answer us, deliver us, and honor us if we will call upon Him.

(Psalm 91:15 states,  He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honor him.

If we seek the Lord with all of our heart and soul, we will find Him as Deuteronomy 4:29 says.

What happens if we ask, seek, and knock? Matthew 7:7 tells us: Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.

Esther needed the door to the courtyard of the great king of Persia opened unto her when she knocked, then entrance granted her so she could speak to the king. I wonder if the king told the guard to let her inside. Next lesson we will see how God granted this for her.

Certainly, Esther was queen of Persia for such a time as this. We can be assured, precious friends, that we are alive, living in our family and community, for such a time as this. Are we ready to do what  life's purpose is?

Life Application Study Bible says:
Will we, like Esther:
  • calculate the cost (Her life was at stake.);
  • set priorities (Safety of the Jews was more important than her life.;
  • prepare (She gathered support and fasting and prayers.)
  • determined a course of action and move ahead as God leads. (Taking too long would lessen her commitment.)
Are you facing a hostile audience, confronting a friend, talking to family about changes? Let's follow Esther's example and pray and fast, asking God what to do before doing anything.


Determine to obey whatever God leads me to do.
Then pray and fast over the matter.

Your will,
Your way,
Today, I pray.

Friday, November 3, 2017

For Such a Time as This

O. T. #1091 "For such a Time as This"
Nov. 3, 2017
Esther 4-Part 2


The young couple lost their first baby. Her funeral was Thursday. Yet they accepted it as God's will and honor Him through it. These families chose to have strong faith in God, even when His path for them is devastating, giving heir God glory and thanks. Esther came to the point where she had to trust God or not.

It was Mordecai's fault that a new law was made that on a certain day, all the Jews would be killed. All because he would not bow down to Haman. A message from Mordecai came to Esther charging her to go to the king to make a request for the lives of her people, the Jews, to be saved. He knew what stuff she was made of and her character.

The Queen sent a returning message saying this:
  • The Persian aw prohibited anyone from approaching he king without first being summoned. It prevented the potential assassination of the king, as well as interrupting his important business.
  • Esther had not been summoned by him for 30 days. Perhaps she was no longer favored by the king.
  • Entering the king's inner court without being invited meant death for Esther.
Do we see the seriousness of Queen Esther's dilemma? Her problem was very serious-she would be risking her life to meet her cousin's request. What is Sovereign God chose Esther to be used for this purpose?

Mordecai sent word warning Esther in verse 13: Think not with thyself that thou shalt escape in the king's house, more than all the Jews. If Esther kept silent, God would raise up another deliverer, yet she and he family would perish. Who knowth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?

Wow, what a heavy responsibility laid on her. No excuses, no hiding. It was up to Esther to try to persuade the king to change this horrible law. Did Esther suddenly find the purpose for her life? Was she really placed on the throne as queen to save the Jews? Keeping silent during this crisis would require another deliverer. Also, Mordecai knew it was because of his stand for the Lord that got them in this mess. (This happened before Ezra's return to Jerusalem with Jews.)

What would Esther choose to do-keep silent or risk her life? Although her husband was the king, she couldn't just stroll into his office and casually unload what was on her mind.
We may never be put in such a dilemma, yet we might. There have been people who in a split second decision gave their life for another's being spared.
Will we step out in courage and take a stand for our beliefs?


What was Esther's decision?
  • She sent word to Mordecai for all the Jews in Shushan to fast for 3 days and nights about the matter.
  • She and her maidens would fast also.
  • Courageous Esther said she would go to the king, breaking the law, and risking her life. If she perished, she perished trying to save her people.
We read of so many heroes of faith in the Bible-Gideon, David, Moses, Joshua. They depended upon God to use them and bring them through the rough spots in their life and the Jews' lives. Paul, the disciples, Peter, and Jesus' life made a difference.

When we are facing desperate situations, do we pray and fast for God's directions?
Are we determined to make a difference, no matter what the consequences?


Be a prayer warrior, interceding for folks.
Stand up for Jesus.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

When Bad News Comes

O. T. #1090  "When Bad News Comes"
Nov. 1, 2017
Esther 4
And I search for a man among them who should build up the wall and stand in the gap before Me for the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one.  Ezekiel 22:30


I'm sure we have all had our share of bad news. It comes in various forms with different news that we dread to hear. It can be an accident, illness, terminal disease, loss of a job, divorce, even death. Will we allow it to dissolve our faith in God? Or will we allow it to make our faith stronger? Queen Esther gets the bad news in today's lesson. How does she react?

Will God allow His people to be destroyed? The city of Susa was perplexed, in confusion.
Wicked Haman influenced King Xerxus with his promises to pour money into his treasuries if he could rid the land of the Jews who do not bow down and worship you as the king. This was the makings of the worse holocaust. Mordecai and the Jews went into mourning in one city, Susa. They wailed loudly and bitterly, as well as fasting. Sorrow was widespread. Mordecai was not allowed beyond the king's gate because he was clothed in sackcloth.

Esther probably knew nothing of the new edict. Mordecai made himself visible at the king's gate hoping to get the Queen's attention and inform her of the situation. After all, she was a Jew, too, and would b killed along with her people. Of curse, they were the only two people who knew that.

But Esther no longer had outside contacts now that she was Queen of Persia. That included no direct speaking to Mordecai; no comforting him either.

This year our brothers and sisters in our nation have experienced hurricanes, floods, fires, riots. We have banded together to help them in their time of need.  When others are in sorrow from loosing a loved one or things, do we respond with love?


In verse 4, Esther is told what has happened. She was exceedingly grieved. She even sent clothing to Mordecai to take away his sackcloth, but he did not accept it. Was she embarrassed? Did Esther send him a new suit? Was she thinking that Mordecai would try to speak to the king and get the law changed?
Mordecai gave the guy who brought the clothing a copy of the decree, old him to show Esther, and charged her to go to the king, interceding for her people. Hatach did as Mordecai requested. Would she go plead for mercy for her people? If it did not change, Esther would die with the Jews.
Wait, what about God's promise to David that one of his descendants would always be on the throne?
Nest time we will find out.


Go to those who are hurting with the promises of God.
Keep our faith strong.