Esther 2 part 1 A Queen is Chosen

We can never be sure how God will execute his plan in our lives.  Esther was an orphan captive in Susa, and because of the Queen’s behavior, she was being introduced to royalty. Her attitude of submission and humility she found favor with all the people she came into contact with.  God’s plan and our obedience  will provide us the ability to see God at his finest.  Esther began a journey that would save her life and her people.  Help Me Lord to submit to your leadership and see your plan at work.

God Bless You

Later when King Xerxes’ fury had subsided, he remembered Vashti and what she had done and what he had decreed about her. 2 Then the king’s personal attendants proposed, “Let a search be made for beautiful young virgins for the king. 3 Let the king appoint commissioners in every province of his realm to bring all these beautiful young women into the harem at the citadel of Susa. Let them be placed under the care of Hegai, the king’s eunuch, who is in charge of the women; and let beauty treatments be given to them. 4 Then let the young woman who pleases the king be queen instead of Vashti.” This advice appealed to the king, and he followed it…as his own daughter when her father and mother died.

8 When the king’s order and edict had been proclaimed, many young women were brought to the citadel of Susa and put under the care of Hegai. Esther also was taken to the king’s palace and entrusted to Hegai, who had charge of the harem. 9 She pleased him and won his favor. Immediately he provided her with her beauty treatments and special food. He assigned to her seven female attendants selected from the king’s palace and moved her and her attendants into the best place in the harem.10 Esther had not revealed her nationality and family background, because Mordecai had forbidden her to do so. 11 Every day he walked back and forth near the courtyard of the harem to find out how Esther was and what was happening to her.

Esther 1 part 2 Equal Rights???

imagesCA88JK1VWhen America dealt with issues of women’s rights at suffrage and again in the last 30 years—little did we remember that these have been the issues that have divided folks for thousands of years.  The most amazing thing is that God is the most concerned with the treatment of women. When he breathed life into Adam, he made Eve from one of Adam’s ribs—not his hair; not his toe; but– his rib to signify a side by side journey. Throughout Bible history, God showcases great Godly women like Esther, Ruth, Sara, Hannah, Abigail, Dorcus, Mary, Mary Magdalene, Martha, Pricilla and the list goes on of Godly Women that have shaped our world.  

The most concise plan for Marriage–in Ephesians 5: 20+ calls for mutual submission by husbands and wives with husbands understanding that the couple are one person, one mind, one heart and one spirit. The Church gets a bad reputation for their its treatment of women, but, truth is if we walk submitted to God and His word, we will honor each other and live humbly as servants to each other and to him.  Then, the Father is free to provide, protect and to lift us up to the honorable seat of His adopted children and heirs—no distinction as to gender. Once we understandthat it is God’s nature to love and honor us, then we can see that the enemy desires to humiliate and destroy us.  It is the World that would promise equality and deliver slavery.  The World says we need to be independent–all the while, looking for ways to entrap and to enslave.  God says trust and follow me and I will lead you thru the traps and into true freedom, understand only a Father loves his kids enough to truly protect them from their own desires.  Choose this day whom you will serve, as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

 God Bless You

 “Therefore, if it pleases the king, let him issue a royal decree and let it be written in the laws of Persia and Media, which cannot be repealed, that Vashti is never again to enter the presence of King Xerxes. Also let the king give her royal position to someone else who is better than she. 20 Then when the king’s edict is proclaimed throughout all his vast realm, all the women will respect their husbands, from the least to the greatest.”

21 The king and his nobles were pleased with this advice, so the king did as Memukan proposed. 22 He sent dispatches to all parts of the kingdom, to each province in its own script and to each people in their own language, proclaiming that every man should be ruler over his own household, using his native tongue.

Esther 1 a picture of God’s Soveriegnty

The book of Esther one of the best illustrations in God’s word of the providence of God coupled with submission and humility of his chosen can allow God to provide and protect his own and Glorify himself before men.  The Story begins with the opposite lesson.  Vashti was unwilling to submit to the King and the result cost her position in the Kingdom and opened the door for God to provide and protect his people in a time and place that offered little hope off either provision or protection.

The study of Esther gives us hope that in the midst of oppression and dire circumstance, God himself shines the brightest through those that trust and obey him. Many Kings have reigned and fallen, but God’s plan has continued to progress and his people have continued to stand separate from the fates of the world. If we, like Esther and Mordicai, surrender to his plan and follow his leadership, we can stand as Esther did in peace that God will provide and protect those he loves.  Help me, Lord to surrender to your leadership and honor you with my life.

God Bless You

On the seventh day of the feast, when King Xerxes was in high spirits because of the wine, he told the seven eunuchs who attended him—Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha, Abagtha, Zethar, and Carcas— 11 to bring Queen Vashti to him with the royal crown on her head. He wanted the nobles and all the other men to gaze on her beauty, for she was a very beautiful woman. 12 But when they conveyed the king’s order to Queen Vashti, she refused to come. This made the king furious, and he burned with anger.

13 He immediately consulted with his wise advisers, who knew all the Persian laws and customs, for he always asked their advice. 14 The names of these men were Carshena, Shethar, Admatha, Tarshish, Meres, Marsena, and Memucan—seven nobles of Persia and Media. They met with the king regularly and held the highest positions in the empire.

15 “What must be done to Queen Vashti?” the king demanded. “What penalty does the law provide for a queen who refuses to obey the king’s orders, properly sent through his eunuchs?”

16 Memucan answered the king and his nobles, “Queen Vashti has wronged not only the king but also every noble and citizen throughout your empire. 17 Women everywhere will begin to despise their husbands when they learn that Queen Vashti has refused to appear before the king. 18 Before this day is out, the wives of all the king’s nobles throughout Persia and Media will hear what the queen did and will start treating their husbands the same way. There will be no end to their contempt and anger.

God is Great–I Chronicles 16

As his children, we often forget that of all the things that God is and does, mostly he is great and awesome. His power, knowledge, love and thousands of other attributes define him as the greatest force and being of all time.  He is unstoppable, without rival and deserving of all honor and praise. Still, in the midst of that, he cares for us.

We continue to underestimate the greatness of God.  When we watch the events throughout the Globe and the senseless tragedy on our own soil, we lose hope in the ability of one God to actually make a difference. We need to cling to the hope of His greatness and the promise he makes in Jeremiah—If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves, turn from their wicked ways and seek my face—Then I will hear them, I will restore them and heal their land. God—Our Great Lord, we submit, we seek your forgiveness and we humbly pray for your restoration!

God Bless You

7 On that day David gave to Asaph and his fellow Levites this song of thanksgiving to the Lord:

8 Give thanks to the Lord and proclaim his greatness.
Let the whole world know what he has done.
9 Sing to him; yes, sing his praises.
Tell everyone about his wonderful deeds.
10 Exult in his holy name;
rejoice, you who worship the Lord.
11 Search for the Lord and for his strength;
continually seek him.
12 Remember the wonders he has performed,
his miracles, and the rulings he has given,
13 you children of his servant Israel,
you descendants of Jacob, his chosen ones.

Our God the Loving Creator

Who is Like God? He is all knowing, all powerful and transcends time and space.  As the creator of the earth and all that lies within the universe he spoke Galaxies into existence.  He gave special consideration to stings of DNA to differentiate us from all other living creatures.  He made each of us unique by voice, sight, by personality and by will.  He knows us inside and out.  He truly loves and cares for us.  As the creator, he knows what makes us work best. He has advised us how to best operate in this environment.  He has even shown us through the Lord—how we should be different.

In everyday life, we deal with manufactured products all the time.  The labels tell us that the warranty is void if the product is not used according to the manufacturer’s specifications.  In our lives we need to operate according to our creator’s specifications.  He tells us to love and trust him and love others and treat them as he would.  If we would simply honor him and follow him we would see him do amazing things in our lives and in our land.  Joshua said it best—“Choose this day whom you will serve… as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!” Joshua 24:15. Father, help me to live as you created me to live.

God Bless You

Genesis 14:19
and he blessed Abram, saying, “Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth.
Genesis 14:22
But Abram said to the king of Sodom, “With raised hand I have sworn an oath to the LORD, God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth,
Deuteronomy 32:6
Is this the way you repay the LORD, you foolish and unwise people? Is he not your Father, your Creator, who made you and formed you?
Ecclesiastes 11:7
[ Remember Your Creator While Young ] Light is sweet, and it pleases the eyes to see the sun.
Ecclesiastes 12:1
Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come and the years approach when you will say, “I find no pleasure in them”—
Isaiah 27:11
When its twigs are dry, they are broken off and women come and make fires with them. For this is a people without understanding; so their Maker has no compassion on them, and their Creator shows them no favor.
Isaiah 40:28
Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.
Isaiah 42:5
This is what God the LORD says— the Creator of the heavens, who stretches them out, who spreads out the earth with all that springs from it, who gives breath to its people, and life to those who walk on it:
Isaiah 43:15
I am the LORD, your Holy One, Israel’s Creator, your King.”

Romans 1:25
They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.
Colossians 3:10
and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.
1 Peter 4:19
So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good

God is Peace and Grants Us Peace

In the midst of war and chaos—War among political parties, among shoppers in malls, among union workers and those who have now gained the right to work apart from unions.  Nations and terrorists, rulers and their own people.  Parents and Children, employers and their staff.  Churches and governments. Courts and the electorate.    There is absolute chaos throughout the World. But, our God delivers peace in the chaos. In the center of a Hurricane is the Eye.  Those that have experienced the true force of a Hurricane say that the eye is like a paradise after the force of the storm.dove-of-peace

God is that peace in the middle of the storm.  He does not promise a storm free life.  He actually warns that the journey will be filled with turbulence and trouble.  But he promises that if we fully rely upon him- he will be that eye in the storm.  He will be the haven where rest can finally happen. Please be aware that the eye is usually followed by more storm.  But the rest can mean survival for those who are facing the storm.

We need to brace for difficult circumstance.  But we must also dive into the loving arms off a God of peace.  We need to cling to him, cry on him, nuzzle into him and allow his unfathomable peace to pour over us. He told us—Fear not!!! I will be with you!

God Bless You

Philippians 4:7
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:9
Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
1 Thessalonians 5:23
May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Hebrews 13:20
Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep,
2 Chronicles 20:30
And the kingdom of Jehoshaphat was at peace, for his God had given him rest on every side.
Isaiah 9:6
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 52:7
How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!”
Matthew 5:9
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
Acts 10:36
You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, announcing the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all.
Romans 14:17
For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit,
Romans 15:13
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 15:33
The God of peace be with you all. Amen.
1 Corinthians 14:33
For God is not a God of disorder but of peace—as in all the congregations of the Lord’s people.
2 Corinthians 13:11
Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.
Galatians 6:16
Peace and mercy to all who follow this rule—to the Israel of God.

God Is Strength–The Psalms

The world leaves me weak some days. I am grateful for God’s provision and life. But the world draws on us and zaps our energy and we have to rely on the Lord to strengthen us and empower us. He has provided strength since the days of Abraham. He strengthened Samson, Caleb, Elijah, Elisha and David. Throughout Biblical History–It is God who has provided the strength for his people.
The same God is our strength when we feel weak. His power is sufficient to meet our needs. Paul said it best, God’s strength is made perfect in our weakness. We have to learn to rely on his strength and not upon our own. When Samson lost his strength, he did not even notice until it was too late. That was because he relied upon his strength and not on the God that provided it. We as his kids have to rely on him rather than on what he provides. As we do he will provide the strength we need to face the world and its challenges. Help me, Lord to rest in you and in your strength
God Bless You
Psalm 18:32
It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure.
Psalm 18:39
You armed me with strength for battle; you humbled my adversaries before me.
Psalm 21:1
[ Psalm 21 ] For the director of music. A psalm of David. The king rejoices in your strength, LORD. How great is his joy in the victories you give!
Psalm 21:13
Be exalted in your strength, LORD; we will sing and praise your might.
Psalm 22:19
But you, LORD, do not be far from me. You are my strength; come quickly to help me.
Psalm 28:7
The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.
Psalm 28:8
The LORD is the strength of his people, a fortress of salvation for his anointed one.
Psalm 59:9
You are my strength, I watch for you; you, God, are my fortress,

God My Father 2 Chronicles 7

fathers-day-globalI often envision God as the heavenly father. I think that for me, as a father, it is the easiest way for me to understand his desire and compassion for me as a fragile and very human sinner. So much of my life has been and is a battle to make the right choices and follow him in a way that not only honors him but also draws men to him. And when I say men, I really mean my friends and family. I desire more than anything to be the example to my kids of a fully surrendered and faithful man. But, life is hard and circumstances often compromise my ability to be faithful and show my trust in the one who has always provided and always drawn near to me.
When Solomon dedicated the temple, God laid it out very simply. As his kids, if we are willing to follow him, he wants to guard, heal and restore us as a person and as a people. He is also willing to discipline us and even allow us to suffer if that is what it takes to save us from the world and its eternal destruction. Any dad knows how tough it is to discipline his kids. We do not want to see them suffer…But, we will do what it takes to help our kids live lives of freedom and peace. Our Heavenly father is the same. He is a God that parents! Discipline, nurturing and affection are the daily regimen from him. We have to see his heart and know he wants us attentive, healed and restored! Help me, Lord to submit, follow and listen to you!
God Bless You
“I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for myself as a temple for sacrifices.
13 “When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, 14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 15 Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place. 16 I have chosen and consecrated this temple so that my Name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there.
17 “As for you, if you walk before me faithfully as David your father did, and do all I command, and observe my decrees and laws, 18 I will establish your royal throne, as I covenanted with David your father when I said, ‘You shall never fail to have a successor to rule over Israel.’

God is Life and the Giver of Life

life Giver

When you think of God, you have to hold in reverence the fact that he Gives life. Sure he is the creator, he is the Lord and Master. But to realize that our very lives are a gift from him and his desire is for our lives to be full, rich and meaningful.

So much of our Journey is life taking. Circumstances, relationships and spiritual warfare are constant takers of life. We face daily struggles and often they involve our most intimate thoughts, dreams and people. We would love to find a way to avoid the sucking down of the essence of us. We say things like Ï used to be so happy, so funny, so care free—but the forces we face have made emptied us our life. But, in the midst of it, God was there filling us with his spirit, his joy and his life.

As we draw on God, we are replenished with life. Often it seems it is barely enough for the day…but it is enough. We need to learn to cherish the life he gives and use it to drive us forward toward him. Then we will finally grasp what it truly means to have life and have it more abundantly.

God Bless You

Genesis 2

7 Then20 and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him.

 

Deuteronomy 30

For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. the Lord God formed a man[a] from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.

 

Deuteronomy 32

“See now that I myself am he! There is no god besides me. I put to death and I bring to life, I have wounded and I will heal, and no one can deliver out of my hand.

 

Ecclesiastes 5

This is what I have observed to be good: that it is appropriate for a person to eat, to drink and to find satisfaction in their toilsome labor under the sun during the few days of life God has given them—for this is their lot.

Isaiah 38

“Go and tell Hezekiah, ‘This is what the LORD, the God of your father David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will add fifteen years to your life.

 

Isaiah 42

This is what God the LORD says— the Creator of the heavens, who stretches them out, who spreads out the earth with all that springs from it, who gives breath to its people, and life to those who walk on it:

 

John 6

As it is written: “I have made you a father of many nations.” He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed—the God who gives life to the dead and calls into being things that were not.

 

 

God is Light–How Beautifully Revealing

Let’s face it wintertime in Wisconsin means it gets dark early.  I mean at 4:30! What a challenge to endure dark evenings for months on end.  We do not enjoy dark.  We find ways to occupy us during the dark time, but few truly enjoy darkness as a retreat. We were made in God’s image. God is light and gives light.  When we are in a lighted place we are less tense, less afraid and less alone. As we look to understand who God is, we need to understand he is light.  His presence warms and enlightens.  He brings clarity and vision.  He uncovers the lost and hidden.  He grants joy in times where darkness would otherwise deflate and depress.sunsky

 

We need to come into his light.  We also need to relax in the clarity it brings. His light often exposes imperfections in us.  That is OK.  That is the only way we can correct them. But his light also exposes the beauty and wonder that is life and is YOU.  He brightens and turns the journey into an amazing journey. When we finally grasp and embrace the beauty of God and his light, then we can move forward in confidence and peace–even on treacherous grounds.  Help me, Lord to recognize, embrace and walk in the light that is you, and that you have provided.

 God Bless You

Genesis 1:3&14-15

3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light

14. And God said, “Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth.” And it was so.

Psalm 118:27
The LORD is God, and he has made his light shine on us. With boughs in hand, join in the festal procession up to the horns of the altar.

1 Corinthians 4:5
Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive their praise from God.

2 Corinthians 4:4
The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

1 John 1:5

This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all

John 8:12

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”