For Such A Time As This

Happy Purim! This Jewish holiday is special to me because I can really relate to being put in situations that I don’t understand why I’m there.

If you remember the story of Esther – she was an orphan, raised by her uncle, Mordecai.

King Xerxes had thrown a big party, got really drunk, and ordered his wife to appear naked. She refused and he, with the advice of his council, determined to depose her. After all, they advised him, if she doesn’t obey him, other wives will think it’s OK to do that.

The king determined to get a new wife. He sent a notice that all the most beautiful, young, women of the land were to become part of his harem. He would choose one from among them to replace Vashti.  And so he did.

Sometime later, King Xerxes appointed Haman to be his next in command. With that came the ruling and expectation that everyone would bow to him.  Mordecai was having none of that. He would bow to no one but God. That upset Haman a great deal and he convinced Xerxes to make an edict that if you refused to bow to the king you would be hanged.  In fact, Haman even offered to give 10,000 pieces of silver to the king’s treasury.

There were many Jews at the time that were refusing to bow to the king so they also fell under this ruling. Well, Haman told the king and between them, they created a ruling that all Jews would be annihilated.

When Mordecai heard about this he told Esther that she needed to intervene. She was not sure how she would be able to do that so she told him she didn’t have the power to do so. He, basically, responded that perhaps she had been placed in her position ‘for such a time as this’. She said she would fast and pray and would then make a decision.

She came up with a plan but in the meantime, Haman had built a scaffold upon which to hang Mordecai because he refused to bow to him.

Her uncle was a scribe for the king and had saved his (the king) life at one point when he heard about a group that wanted to assassinate him. Well, one night King Xerxes couldn’t sleep so he got out the scroll that talked about his actions and what had happened in his country while he was king.  He came across the notation that talked about how Mordecai had saved his life. The king quickly called Haman into his chambers and asked him what should be done for someone like this. Haman thought the king was talking about him and said he should have a king’s robe put on him and sit on a steed and go through the city while people bowed to him.

Well, it wasn’t about him. The king made him lead the horse that his enemy sat on. Then, the king found out what Haman was building the gallows for and had him hanged on it instead.

Esther went to Xerxes and told him about what was about to happen to her people. She was able to stop the slaughter. Now Jewish people celebrate Purim every year on the 14th and 15th days of Adar to remind them of the time they were rescued. The actual verses say this:

  •  Mordecai recorded these events and sent letters to the Jews near and far, throughout all the provinces of King Xerxes, calling on them to celebrate an annual festival on these two days. He told them to celebrate these days with feasting and gladness and by giving gifts of food to each other and presents to the poor. This would commemorate a time when the Jews gained relief from their enemies when their sorrow was turned into gladness and their mourning into joy. Esther 9:20-22

I hope you are able to celebrate this special holiday in your own way. God is good!

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

Thank you to Bible Gateway for providing scripture links.

Life Gifts

During the Christmas season, we are often focused on gifts. Giving and receiving. Let’s look at gifting in a little different way today.

What is the one thing you’re passionate about and do better than anything else?  It could be your life gift.

Ephesians 2:10 tells us that we are God’s creation and that He has specifically given us talents and gifts, that He ‘prepared in advance’, to use for the good of all. Although we want to connect this verse specifically to the Spiritual Gifts of Romans 12:3-8 and 1Corinthians 12: 1-11 it is much more than that.

I think our life gifts include the gift(s) of the Spirit as well as talents, abilities, and skills that are part of what makes us unique.

In Exodus 35:30-35, we are told that God gave two men specific skills and talents for building the temple. They were to teach those who wanted to help with the project these skills. In the 13th Century before Christ, (during the Exodus) He already had a plan and had given people the abilities to carry out that plan. He’s been giving specific, unique gifts to His creation ever since.

Among the life-gifts God gives are many that help the local church function. Talents and abilities such as musical abilities (composing, singing, playing instruments, performing), crafting (painting, building, sewing, designing, needle arts), home skills (cooking, cleaning, arranging, gardening)… There are so many and God wants them used for His glory!

I want to encourage you to not get wrapped up in false humility where these talents are concerned. When we say to ourselves or others that ‘I’m not as good at this or that than ________________’, we are denying what God has given us to use in our worship of Him.  It is good that we recognize the talents of others but we have special gifts, talents, and skills of our own. God wouldn’t have given them if He didn’t expect us to use them.

Your life gifts are needed! Use them!

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

Power, Love, and Sound Judgement

  • God does not want us to be timid or cowardly. He does not want us to fear. In fact, He will never, get that, never, give us a fear-filled spirit. Did you know He says don’t fear 365 times in the NIV translation? That’s one for every day of the year. I think if we look at other ways to say it the number is probably much higher.
  • God gives us His power, His love, and His mind. When we are given a precious gift aren’t we expected to use it?
  • As a child of God, we have His power within us because the Holy Spirit lives in us. With this incredible power, we can overcome anything the evil one throws at us.
  • We are given the love of Jesus at the moment of our salvation. We are not to keep it hidden but we are to share it, live it, model it, and give it constantly.
  • Sound judgment is transliterated in the Amplified Bible as a calm and well-balanced mind with discipline and self-control. So if I have been given sound judgment then when I must judge God has created my mind to have all these characteristics. So, then, I can be totally assured I am acting and reacting in the way God wants.

One of the verses I memorized many years ago, during a time of extreme stress was Isaiah 54:17. God has given us His power, His love, and sound judgment so that every weapon and every word that the evil one wants to use against us is blocked. Our God is certainly an Awesome God.

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

Gifts

Gifts

Gifts (Photo credit: Guudmorning!)

Why do we give gifts?  For birthdays?  Just because?  Anniversaries?  Christmas?

I recently really struggled with what to give my awesome husband for his birthday.  This is a really big deal for me because gifting is my primary love language.  I really wanted to give him a new truck or motorcycle but I don’t have the money for that.  I did tell him that’s what I wanted to give him just to make him smile…He was delighted with a motorcycle print shirt, a soft eagle print sport shirt, and a hand tooled leather belt (He had worn out his favorite one.)

John 3:16-17  God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.  God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world but that the world through Him might be saved.

I have received many incredible gifts over the years.  Special things designed just for me.  Yet, none so special as the gift of eternal life.  A gift that will be mine simply because I believe without question that Jesus is the Christ the Son of the Living God.  I believe that He personally saved me and would have even if I were the only person on earth.

Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible, undeserved gift of my Lord, Jesus Christ.  Keep me always aware of Your presence.  Grant me the peace that comes with knowing who You are and Whose I am.   Make it so!