RSS

Tag Archives: Esther

Emails to God – Pressed but not Crushed (Esther 10)

King Xerxes imposed tribute throughout the empire, to its distant shores. 2 And all his acts of power and might, together with a full account of the greatness of Mordecai, whom the king had promoted, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Media and Persia? 3 Mordecai the Jew was second in rank to King Xerxes, preeminent among the Jews, and held in high esteem by his many fellow Jews, because he worked for the good of his people and spoke up for the welfare of all the Jews.

Dear God, so, was all of this about getting Mordecai elevated? Is that why you did all of this? Is that why Esther was picked as the queen? Is that why Haman had to be deposed? Is that why the Jews had to be threatened? Which is the cause and which is the effect? Did you need Mordecai in power so you orchestrated all of this, or did all of this happen, so you brought Mordecai to power to help? I have a feeling that it is the former.

It is a little like the Israelites in Egypt. Did they end up there because of the famine, or did you use the famine to get them there? Frankly, I think you needed them to be in slavery for over 400 years so that the nation could grow in the incubator that was Egypt. They were protected. The more they were persecuted the more they multiplied. By the time it was over there were hundreds of thousands of them. They had enough critical mass to defend themselves.

The thing I have to remember, to quote a praise song, is that it is all about you and not about me. If that is true then that means that my suffering is irrelevant in terms of your plans. Yes, you want me to have peace and joy in life, but I don’t deserve ease and comfort. You might bless me with it, but I don’t have a right to expect it. After all, it is all about you and not about me.

Father, help me to live completely at peace in the life you have given to me. There are challenges to be sure. And I am pressed, but I am not crushed. In some ways I am persecuted, but I am not abandoned. I have been struck down at times, but I am not destroyed. I am blessed beyond the curse and your promise endures. Your joy will be my strength. The sorrow might last for the night, but your joy will come in the morning.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on July 12, 2012 in Esther

 

Tags: , , , , ,

Emails to God – Do this in remembrance… (Esther 9:20-32)

20 Mordecai recorded these events, and he sent letters to all the Jews throughout the provinces of King Xerxes, near and far, 21 to have them celebrate annually the fourteenth and fifteenth days of the month of Adar 22 as the time when the Jews got relief from their enemies, and as the month when their sorrow was turned into joy and their mourning into a day of celebration. He wrote them to observe the days as days of feasting and joy and giving presents of food to one another and gifts to the poor.

23 So the Jews agreed to continue the celebration they had begun, doing what Mordecai had written to them. 24 For Haman son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, the enemy of all the Jews, had plotted against the Jews to destroy them and had cast the pur (that is, the lot ) for their ruin and destruction. 25 But when the plot came to the king’s attention, he issued written orders that the evil scheme Haman had devised against the Jews should come back onto his own head, and that he and his sons should be impaled on poles. 26 (Therefore these days were called Purim, from the word pur. ) Because of everything written in this letter and because of what they had seen and what had happened to them, 27 the Jews took it on themselves to establish the custom that they and their descendants and all who join them should without fail observe these two days every year, in the way prescribed and at the time appointed. 28 These days should be remembered and observed in every generation by every family, and in every province and in every city. And these days of Purim should never fail to be celebrated by the Jews—nor should the memory of these days die out among their descendants.

29 So Queen Esther, daughter of Abihail, along with Mordecai the Jew, wrote with full authority to confirm this second letter concerning Purim. 30 And Mordecai sent letters to all the Jews in the 127 provinces of Xerxes’ kingdom—words of goodwill and assurance— 31 to establish these days of Purim at their designated times, as Mordecai the Jew and Queen Esther had decreed for them, and as they had established for themselves and their descendants in regard to their times of fasting and lamentation. 32 Esther’s decree confirmed these regulations about Purim, and it was written down in the records.

Dear God, this is one of those times when it is important that your people “do this in remembrance” of what you have done. It is, after all, so easy to forget.

For example, I was driving to work today thinking about how great all of the rain has been and how green everything looks this deep into July. It’s very unusual. I was telling someone yesterday that I remember this time last year when everything was so, so, so dry and we were desperate for both rain and a break from the heat, and yet the Midwest was getting floods that were bringing the Mississippi River above its banks. Now, we are the ones experiencing high temps in the eighties and low-nineties while they are roasting. Now, we all prayed hard last year for rain. We were desperate. Just a sprinkle would lift our spirits and bring us hope. But are we still coming and worshipping you for what you are doing for us now? Are we REMEMBERING how you have moved and answered our prayers? Do we give you credit for any of this at all?

There are times when we have to set up things in our lives, like Purim, to remind ourselves of your might. We do it with Easter. We do it with Christmas. We even do it with the Lord’s Supper because Jesus administered the supper and then gave a command that the disciples should do this regularly, lest they forget.

Father, you have done so many things for me that I have overlooked. A lot of the time I don’t even see them. You are generous with your love. You are gracious with your provision, both at work and in my personal life. You have kept my children safe. And the truth is, I take nearly all of it for granted. So I know it doesn’t make up for my callousness, but I come to you now and I say thank you. Thank you for what you do that I see, and for what you do that I miss. Please help me to use your blessings to spread your love to others. Help all of us to turn and worship you for all that you do and return to you the glory that you deserve.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on July 11, 2012 in Esther

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Emails to God – The Road to Hell is Paved with Good Intentions (Esther 9:1-19)

On the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the month of Adar, the edict commanded by the king was to be carried out. On this day the enemies of the Jews had hoped to overpower them, but now the tables were turned and the Jews got the upper hand over those who hated them. 2 The Jews assembled in their cities in all the provinces of King Xerxes to attack those determined to destroy them. No one could stand against them, because the people of all the other nationalities were afraid of them. 3 And all the nobles of the provinces, the satraps, the governors and the king’s administrators helped the Jews, because fear of Mordecai had seized them. 4 Mordecai was prominent in the palace; his reputation spread throughout the provinces, and he became more and more powerful.

5 The Jews struck down all their enemies with the sword, killing and destroying them, and they did what they pleased to those who hated them. 6 In the citadel of Susa, the Jews killed and destroyed five hundred men. 7 They also killed Parshandatha, Dalphon, Aspatha, 8 Poratha, Adalia, Aridatha, 9 Parmashta, Arisai, Aridai and Vaizatha, 10 the ten sons of Haman son of Hammedatha, the enemy of the Jews. But they did not lay their hands on the plunder.

11 The number of those killed in the citadel of Susa was reported to the king that same day. 12 The king said to Queen Esther, “The Jews have killed and destroyed five hundred men and the ten sons of Haman in the citadel of Susa. What have they done in the rest of the king’s provinces? Now what is your petition? It will be given you. What is your request? It will also be granted.”

13 “If it pleases the king,” Esther answered, “give the Jews in Susa permission to carry out this day’s edict tomorrow also, and let Haman’s ten sons be impaled on poles.”

14 So the king commanded that this be done. An edict was issued in Susa, and they impaled the ten sons of Haman. 15 The Jews in Susa came together on the fourteenth day of the month of Adar, and they put to death in Susa three hundred men, but they did not lay their hands on the plunder.

16 Meanwhile, the remainder of the Jews who were in the king’s provinces also assembled to protect themselves and get relief from their enemies. They killed seventy-five thousand of them but did not lay their hands on the plunder. 17 This happened on the thirteenth day of the month of Adar, and on the fourteenth they rested and made it a day of feasting and joy.

18 The Jews in Susa, however, had assembled on the thirteenth and fourteenth, and then on the fifteenth they rested and made it a day of feasting and joy.

19 That is why rural Jews—those living in villages—observe the fourteenth of the month of Adar as a day of joy and feasting, a day for giving presents to each other.

Dear God, the Old Testament stories like this are hard for me. I understand it was a kill-or-be-killed society, especially in that moment, but did over 500 people really need to die that day? Was that what you were looking for? It reminds me a little of the story of Joseph in Genesis. He was doing some great stuff in saving the people from famine, but then he ended up, basically, enslaving the Egyptian people to the Pharaoh. He took their land and pretty much all they owned in exchange for the food.

How many things do I possibly do that are inspired by you, but still carry some amount of my human evil? Is there anything that I do in your name, and that might, in general, accomplish a good thing, but is still tainted by my own human perspective and sin?

I think about my job working for a charitable medical clinic. I go out and I talk about our services, and lately I have been mentioning healthcare reform and what it might mean to our patients. As I explain the bill and its consequences, am I being fair or unfair? Am I tainting someone’s heart about the issue that might not have been tainted before?

Then there is parenting. There is a famous quote that says, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” I know there are times when my kids can’t see it, but my intention behind every single decision I make in parenting them is for their good. My kids are teenagers right now, and there are times when they are mad at me. I was thinking on a bike ride this weekend, if I were to get hit by a car and could only give them one message it would be, “I really did do it all for your good.”

Father, I know that my righteousness is like filthy rags to you. I know you get much more frustrated with me than I get with my kids. As fickle as they may be with me I know I am more fickle with you. So forgive me. Help me to carry your righteousness throughout an entire event and not just most of it. Let everything I touched be blessed and provided for by you so that others might be drawn to your power and glory.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on July 9, 2012 in Esther

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Emails to God – Driven to Prayer (Esther 8)

That same day King Xerxes gave Queen Esther the estate of Haman, the enemy of the Jews. And Mordecai came into the presence of the king, for Esther had told how he was related to her. 2 The king took off his signet ring, which he had reclaimed from Haman, and presented it to Mordecai. And Esther appointed him over Haman’s estate.

3 Esther again pleaded with the king, falling at his feet and weeping. She begged him to put an end to the evil plan of Haman the Agagite, which he had devised against the Jews. 4 Then the king extended the gold scepter to Esther and she arose and stood before him.

5 “If it pleases the king,” she said, “and if he regards me with favor and thinks it the right thing to do, and if he is pleased with me, let an order be written overruling the dispatches that Haman son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, devised and wrote to destroy the Jews in all the king’s provinces. 6 For how can I bear to see disaster fall on my people? How can I bear to see the destruction of my family?”

7 King Xerxes replied to Queen Esther and to Mordecai the Jew, “Because Haman attacked the Jews, I have given his estate to Esther, and they have impaled him on the pole he set up. 8 Now write another decree in the king’s name in behalf of the Jews as seems best to you, and seal it with the king’s signet ring —for no document written in the king’s name and sealed with his ring can be revoked.”

9 At once the royal secretaries were summoned—on the twenty-third day of the third month, the month of Sivan. They wrote out all Mordecai’s orders to the Jews, and to the satraps, governors and nobles of the 127 provinces stretching from India to Cush. These orders were written in the script of each province and the language of each people and also to the Jews in their own script and language. 10 Mordecai wrote in the name of King Xerxes, sealed the dispatches with the king’s signet ring, and sent them by mounted couriers, who rode fast horses especially bred for the king.

11 The king’s edict granted the Jews in every city the right to assemble and protect themselves; to destroy, kill and annihilate the armed men of any nationality or province who might attack them and their women and children, and to plunder the property of their enemies. 12 The day appointed for the Jews to do this in all the provinces of King Xerxes was the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the month of Adar. 13 A copy of the text of the edict was to be issued as law in every province and made known to the people of every nationality so that the Jews would be ready on that day to avenge themselves on their enemies.

14 The couriers, riding the royal horses, went out, spurred on by the king’s command, and the edict was issued in the citadel of Susa.

15 When Mordecai left the king’s presence, he was wearing royal garments of blue and white, a large crown of gold and a purple robe of fine linen. And the city of Susa held a joyous celebration. 16 For the Jews it was a time of happiness and joy, gladness and honor. 17 In every province and in every city to which the edict of the king came, there was joy and gladness among the Jews, with feasting and celebrating. And many people of other nationalities became Jews because fear of the Jews had seized them.

Dear God, I think it is interesting that, by the end of this saga, many people became Jews. Through this potential tragedy you pressed people, strengthened their faith, and even brought new believers into the fold.

 

Isn’t that the way it always is? We see tragedy coming at us and it draws us into you. I am almost never drawn to you during my good times. I am drawn to you when I need you. In fact, I am here right now praying to you through this journal because I have a talk to give this morning and I want to make sure I am prayed up and rightly related to you before I give it. If I were just having a normal morning then I might have gone to church and then sat down to watch a little Wimbledon or the Tour de France. But I need you and I am here praying to you.

 

Father, forgive me for my lethargy. Forgive me that it takes anything but my love and devotion to you to bring me into relationship and fellowship with you. Thank you that you are continuously calling me. Thank you that you are here when I repent. I am truly sorry for the pain that I cause you. As a father, I know what it is like to be occasionally rejected by my children, only to be loved again when I am needed. I know at least a small bit of that pain. So I thank you for your love and ask that you will speak through me today as I represent you to a group of people who need a touch of you, as we all do.

 

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on July 8, 2012 in Esther

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Emails to God – What Goes Around… (Esther 7)

So the king and Haman went to Queen Esther’s banquet, 2 and as they were drinking wine on the second day, the king again asked, “Queen Esther, what is your petition? It will be given you. What is your request? Even up to half the kingdom, it will be granted. ”

3 Then Queen Esther answered, “If I have found favor with you, Your Majesty, and if it pleases you, grant me my life—this is my petition. And spare my people—this is my request. 4 For I and my people have been sold to be destroyed, killed and annihilated. If we had merely been sold as male and female slaves, I would have kept quiet, because no such distress would justify disturbing the king.”

5 King Xerxes asked Queen Esther, “Who is he? Where is he—the man who has dared to do such a thing?”

6 Esther said, “An adversary and enemy! This vile Haman!”

Then Haman was terrified before the king and queen. 7 The king got up in a rage, left his wine and went out into the palace garden. But Haman, realizing that the king had already decided his fate, stayed behind to beg Queen Esther for his life.

8 Just as the king returned from the palace garden to the banquet hall, Haman was falling on the couch where Esther was reclining.

The king exclaimed, “Will he even molest the queen while she is with me in the house?”

As soon as the word left the king’s mouth, they covered Haman’s face. 9 Then Harbona, one of the eunuchs attending the king, said, “A pole reaching to a height of fifty cubits stands by Haman’s house. He had it set up for Mordecai, who spoke up to help the king.”

The king said, “Impale him on it!” 10 So they impaled Haman on the pole he had set up for Mordecai. Then the king’s fury subsided.

Dear God, I wonder at what point Haman figured out that this was not going to turn out well for him. Did he figure it out as soon as Esther started describing what was going to happen to her people, or did he not figure it out until he heard his name? And it doesn’t say it, but apparently Xerxes brought back the guards and Harbona because, as it said Haman had figured out, the king’s mind was made up.

I’m honestly not sure what to do with this story in terms of me and my own personal life except to say that it seems that what goes around does, indeed, come around—at least most of the time. It is a constant reminder to be mindful of what I am sending around. Am I sending around meanness and anger, or am I sending around kindness and love. Do I treat my family with harshness or gentleness? Do I treat my coworkers and clients with impatience or grace? Even though the answer might be I am MOSTLY gentle and gracious, I know there is room for improvement.

Father, I’m not perfect. I know I’m not perfect. But I sure would like to be. So please help me to love and parent my children well. Help me to love and husband my wife well. Help me to love and guide our staff and volunteers well. Help me to love and serve our patients well. Live through me so that others might see you living through me and be drawn to you and your lighter yoke.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on July 5, 2012 in Esther

 

Tags: , , , , ,

Emails to God – What Goes Around Comes Around (Esther 6)

That night the king could not sleep; so he ordered the book of the chronicles, the record of his reign, to be brought in and read to him. 2 It was found recorded there that Mordecai had exposed Bigthana and Teresh, two of the king’s officers who guarded the doorway, who had conspired to assassinate King Xerxes.

3 “What honor and recognition has Mordecai received for this?” the king asked.

“Nothing has been done for him,” his attendants answered.

4 The king said, “Who is in the court?” Now Haman had just entered the outer court of the palace to speak to the king about impaling Mordecai on the pole he had set up for him.

5 His attendants answered, “Haman is standing in the court.”

“Bring him in,” the king ordered.

6 When Haman entered, the king asked him, “What should be done for the man the king delights to honor?”

Now Haman thought to himself, “Who is there that the king would rather honor than me?” 7 So he answered the king, “For the man the king delights to honor, 8 have them bring a royal robe the king has worn and a horse the king has ridden, one with a royal crest placed on its head. 9 Then let the robe and horse be entrusted to one of the king’s most noble princes. Let them robe the man the king delights to honor, and lead him on the horse through the city streets, proclaiming before him, ‘This is what is done for the man the king delights to honor! ’”

10 “Go at once,” the king commanded Haman. “Get the robe and the horse and do just as you have suggested for Mordecai the Jew, who sits at the king’s gate. Do not neglect anything you have recommended.”

11 So Haman got the robe and the horse. He robed Mordecai, and led him on horseback through the city streets, proclaiming before him, “This is what is done for the man the king delights to honor!”

12 Afterward Mordecai returned to the king’s gate. But Haman rushed home, with his head covered in grief, 13 and told Zeresh his wife and all his friends everything that had happened to him.

His advisers and his wife Zeresh said to him, “Since Mordecai, before whom your downfall has started, is of Jewish origin, you cannot stand against him—you will surely come to ruin!” 14 While they were still talking with him, the king’s eunuchs arrived and hurried Haman away to the banquet Esther had prepared.

Dear God, I don’t know that I have that much to say about this story that isn’t self-explanatory, except for the very end. There was apparently some sort of intimidation or at least superstition among the people about the Jews because his wife and advisors were all of a sudden cautioning him about Mordecai’s power as a Jew. Yet, these were the same people who, a chapter before, were giving him ideas about how Mordecai could be killed. With friends like these…

There is a phrase, “What goes around comes around.” I think the lesson for me here is that I need to be about sending around love and grace because when I send around frustration and judgment then that is what I get back—especially with my wife and children. That is something I am learning more and more. How I handle my relationships with my wife and children will definitely come back at me many times over, either for the good or for the bad.

Father, as much as I can possibly muster, I offer my ego to you. Haman’s ego got him into a lot of trouble, and my ego can do the same. Please help me to crucify this ego as painlessly as possible, but if it requires pain then so be it. My heart is to serve my wife and children, parent and train my children, and live a humble life before you. Help me to do that.

 

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on June 28, 2012 in Esther

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Emails to God – Hoist By His Own Petard (Esther 5:9-14)

9 Haman went out that day happy and in high spirits. But when he saw Mordecai at the king’s gate and observed that he neither rose nor showed fear in his presence, he was filled with rage against Mordecai. 10 Nevertheless, Haman restrained himself and went home.

Calling together his friends and Zeresh, his wife, 11 Haman boasted to them about his vast wealth, his many sons, and all the ways the king had honored him and how he had elevated him above the other nobles and officials. 12 “And that’s not all,” Haman added. “I’m the only person Queen Esther invited to accompany the king to the banquet she gave. And she has invited me along with the king tomorrow. 13 But all this gives me no satisfaction as long as I see that Jew Mordecai sitting at the king’s gate. ”

14 His wife Zeresh and all his friends said to him, “Have a pole set up, reaching to a height of fifty cubits, and ask the king in the morning to have Mordecai impaled on it. Then go with the king to the banquet and enjoy yourself.” This suggestion delighted Haman, and he had the pole set up.

Dear God, I suppose you could say that Haman was setting himself up to be hoist by his own petard. While I have used this saying before, and understand the gist of it, I didn’t really “know” what it meant until I looked it up this morning. Apparently, it is from Hamlet. Two men were plotting against Hamlet and he ended up turning the plot against them so that their names were replaced with his and they were killed by their own plan. Technically, a petard is a bomb.

So what is the lesson for me? It seems that the big one is that I should be careful to not set traps for people so that they can eventually be turned against me. The anger and vengeance that I display towards others can always come back to haunt me. It is hard to find fault with graciousness, but the person who walks around with bitterness and anger is hard to be around.

Father, as I try to figure out how to be the husband and father I need to be, let it begin with this concept—that I would be able to lead with all of the fruits of the spirit from Galatians 5:22 with my family. Help me to be loving, patient, peaceful, kind, good, gentle, faithful, and in control of myself. If Haman had had these characteristics instead of the hubris and arrogance he allowed himself then he would probably have lived a little longer. He was obviously smart and valuable for the king to have around, but he was insecure and arrogant—words that have been used to describe me. Help me to reject those attributes and to embrace humility and graciousness instead.

 

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on June 26, 2012 in Esther

 

Tags: , , , , ,

Emails to God – God Moves Without Prayer (Esther 5:1-8)

On the third day Esther put on her royal robes and stood in the inner court of the palace, in front of the king’s hall. The king was sitting on his royal throne in the hall, facing the entrance. 2 When he saw Queen Esther standing in the court, he was pleased with her and held out to her the gold scepter that was in his hand. So Esther approached and touched the tip of the scepter.

3 Then the king asked, “What is it, Queen Esther? What is your request? Even up to half the kingdom, it will be given you.”

4 “If it pleases the king,” replied Esther, “let the king, together with Haman, come today to a banquet I have prepared for him.”

5 “Bring Haman at once,” the king said, “so that we may do what Esther asks.”

So the king and Haman went to the banquet Esther had prepared. 6 As they were drinking wine, the king again asked Esther, “Now what is your petition? It will be given you. And what is your request? Even up to half the kingdom, it will be granted.”

7 Esther replied, “My petition and my request is this: 8 If the king regards me with favor and if it pleases the king to grant my petition and fulfill my request, let the king and Haman come tomorrow to the banquet I will prepare for them. Then I will answer the king’s question.”

Dear God, verse two is the answer to the fasting (and, I’ll assume, prayer) that the Jews were doing. Would he or wouldn’t he hold out the scepter? Would he or wouldn’t he have her killed for the impudence of coming to see him. The funny thing I’ve never thought about regarding this story before is that you would think that Xerxes must have known something was up because Esther had taken too big of a chance to see him to simply be inviting him for dinner. Did he not have a very inquisitive mind? In reading this story again, I am left to wonder why he didn’t ask, “No, really, why did you really come to see me?” But yes, he did know there was something more going on because he finally asked in verse six, “Now what is your petition?”

Of course, this is a big request for Esther, and I think it is interesting that she chose to involve Haman in her dinners. She’ll ultimately decide in the next story that she doesn’t feel ready to bring it up, so she asks them to dinner again. But why did she invite Haman? I think I would have just gone straight to Xerxes without Haman there. Haman’s presence makes it much scarier from Esther’s perspective, in my mind. Perhaps the Holy Spirit was leading her. Perhaps you knew that to have the biggest impact on Xerxes she needed to have Haman there.

Father, there is no evidence that Esther was praying to you during this time, but you were guiding it anyway. There are times, frankly, when I forget to pray to you, but I am hopeful that you will still work your will in and through me during those times. Give me wisdom, even when I haven’t asked for it. Give me love, compassion, and discernment when I am in a given situation and I don’t have time to stop and pray. And, ultimately, remind me to pray continuously about everything.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on June 25, 2012 in Esther

 

Tags: , , , , ,

Emails to God – “If I perish, I perish” (Esther 4:9-17)

9 Hathak went back and reported to Esther what Mordecai had said. 10 Then she instructed him to say to Mordecai, 11 “All the king’s officials and the people of the royal provinces know that for any man or woman who approaches the king in the inner court without being summoned the king has but one law: that they be put to death unless the king extends the gold scepter to them and spares their lives. But thirty days have passed since I was called to go to the king.”

12 When Esther’s words were reported to Mordecai, 13 he sent back this answer: “Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. 14 For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”

15 Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: 16 “Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.”

17 So Mordecai went away and carried out all of Esther’s instructions.

Dear God, first, Esther’s request for the Jews to fast is the closest we get in Esther to seeing someone involve you—if only by intimation. But what I really admire about this story is the last sentence of verse 16: “And if I perish, I perish.”

It kind of reminds me of my favorite verse. It’s Acts 20:24: “However, I consider my life worth nothing to me. If only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord has given me—the task of testifying to the Gospel of God’s grace.” At some point we all need to consider our lives worth nothing to us. At some point we need to do what we know is right regardless of what it means for our comfort. I’m not saying that I do these things very well. I do consider my life when I decide moment by moment whether or not to testify to the Gospel of your grace. I do consider myself too much when I decide whether or not to confront someone who is speaking hatefully.

Father, I think of some of the heroes of the world and the selfless decisions they made. Of course, there are those in the military who have died for their country. There are parents who work hard to sacrifice and provide for their children’s futures. There are wives who sacrifice their careers for their children and husbands. There are fathers who sacrifice their careers for their children. One doesn’t have to die to show they are selfless. One has only to die to one’s selfish ambitions and desires. Help me to do this as I make decisions on what kind of husband, father, employee, leader, son, brother, and friend to be.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on June 18, 2012 in Esther

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Emails to God – Consequences for Our Actions (Esther 4:1-8)

4 When Mordecai learned of all that had been done, he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and ashes, and went out into the city, wailing loudly and bitterly. 2 But he went only as far as the king’s gate, because no one clothed in sackcloth was allowed to enter it. 3 In every province to which the edict and order of the king came, there was great mourning among the Jews, with fasting, weeping and wailing. Many lay in sackcloth and ashes.

4 When Esther’s eunuchs and female attendants came and told her about Mordecai, she was in great distress. She sent clothes for him to put on instead of his sackcloth, but he would not accept them. 5 Then Esther summoned Hathak, one of the king’s eunuchs assigned to attend her, and ordered him to find out what was troubling Mordecai and why.

6 So Hathak went out to Mordecai in the open square of the city in front of the king’s gate. 7 Mordecai told him everything that had happened to him, including the exact amount of money Haman had promised to pay into the royal treasury for the destruction of the Jews. 8 He also gave him a copy of the text of the edict for their annihilation, which had been published in Susa, to show to Esther and explain it to her, and he told him to instruct her to go into the king’s presence to beg for mercy and plead with him for her people.

Dear God, I wonder how responsible Mordecai was feeling for all of this. I know he was distressed about him and his people losing their lives, but how much of his “wailing loudly and bitterly” was over the fact that he was the one who had caused Haman to do this? If he had had it to do over again, would he have bowed down to Haman instead of resisting? If he had bowed down in the first place, would Esther’s name be lost to history?

Sometimes we decide to take a stand in our lives with or without the knowledge of what the consequences of that stand will be. I make a stand with my children that they don’t like. I know I am doing it for their good, but it will anger them to not get their way in that given instance. What will be the result of that anger? Will they submit to my authority or will it plant a spirit of rebelliousness in their hearts? George W. Bush decided to draw a line in the sand after 9-11 and say that the United States would stop being defensive in nature in terms of responding to terrorists, and instead become offensive. While that decision has kept further attacks from happening on our soil, there have certainly been consequences to that decision.

Father, I guess my thing is that I want to make good, informed decisions as much as I can, but in the times when there is no way for me to know the consequences of my actions, I want to be able to tap into your wisdom and discernment. I am in no way suggesting that what Mordecai did in not bowing to Haman was the wrong thing to do. I am only saying that it hd consequences and you provided for those consequences. You provided Esther before the issue even arose. So I ask that you will guide me and save me from my own foolishness. Protect me from my mistakes and selfishness. Use my life how you will.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on June 17, 2012 in Esther

 

Tags: , , , , , ,