Monthly Archives: January 2011

Genesis 32; Esther 8; Mark 3; Romans 3

In Esther chapter 8 we see that God provided a way to prevent the deaths of many Jews.  By placing Esther as queen, God worked His plan even before Hamen devised his plan to have the Jews destroyed.

I was reminded of a situation that occurred in my life many years ago when initially the circumstances didn’t look very good for me.  I noticed that my job title had been changed on the company contacts list.  Initially I thought that maybe it was just an error until my supervisor asked me to come and talk to her.  I was told that it had been decided that another person in the company was going to take my role and that I would be junior to her.  I really didn’t understand and wasn’t given any reason related to my performance, but it was obvious that “something” was going on.  I felt that I had been unjustly demoted, but just had a sense that there wasn’t anything that I could do about it.  It seemed that my career may be in jeopardy and that I might have to pursue other opportunities.

Over some time, I felt that the Lord was telling me that I needed to approach the woman placed in my position and discuss how we could work together to accomplish the goals of the company.  The Lord wanted me to be open and honest; to work for the good even in a bad situation.  I was unsure of how the situation would resolve, but I knew that I needed to continue to do what the Lord was instructing, remain positive and work hard.

So often we cannot see the whole situation and it can cause us to lose hope.  It can seem that God is not working in the situation, but it’s just not true!

I am reminded of a statement I heard by Andy Stanley; Even when life and circumstances are uncertain, God is certain!

In my situation, I continued to work in a positive way with the woman who had been place in my position, but eventually she chose to leave the company.  I was then placed back in the position that I previously held and eventually became in charge of the entire department in that company.

Lord, help me to know that even when circumstances seem stacked up against me, that I have an advocate working for my good.  You are a certainty that I can rely upon!

kathleenathome

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Genesis 31; Mark 2 Esther 7; Romans 2

Genesis 31; Mark 2 Esther 7; Romans 2

A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home. So many gathered that they there was not room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them. Some men came, bringing to him a paralytic, carried by four of them. Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus and, after digging through it, lowered the mat the paralyzed man was lying on. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”

I love how Jesus transforms moments of confusion and frustration.

Four friends persevere through packed crowds to get their broken friend to the only hope of healing. Jostled and bumped, he is hoisted above the crowds and onto a flat roof.

Inside the house, Jesus’ teaching is interrupted by the overhead clattering and breaking of clay and wattle. Debris and dirt descend upon him as the ceiling is broken through. Dust rises through the sunlight as four men peer down at the crowd below and then, slowly the paralyzed man is lowered down on his mat to lie at the feet of Jesus.

Jesus would have every human reason to be irritated by the chaos and confusion, but he sees through all of that. He honors the men who love their friend so dearly.

When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” Matt 2:5

The authority of Jesus is questioned and he responds.

“But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins…” He said to the paralytic, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.”

Up gets the paralytic and with mat in hand does simply what he has been told to do. He walks home. The crowd is left gaping in amazement.

Who is this man who can forgive sins and heal broken bodies? He brings wholeness and healing to chaos and need. He changed all the rules back then and continues to do so today. I am counting on this every day of my life.

Lord, you know the mess and confusion in and around me, and you take great delight in reordering my world. Thank you for never turning away from me when you have every right to. Thank you for your gifts of forgiveness and healing and always sending me away changed. I love you and your ways.

Kathy (klueh)

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Gen 30; Mark 1; Esther 6; Romans 1

Be careful what you are eager for. You might get it.

Genesis 30 tells of the births of several of the sons of Jacob (Israel). When Rachel saw that she bore Jacob no children, she envied her sister. She said to Jacob, “Give me children, or I shall die!” (Gen 30:1) Rachel was envious because she was determined to honor Jacob’s love and fulfill her purpose, even if she had to do it through an intermediary. Like her, we need to be so eager to show our love toward God that we will go through the intermediary – Jesus Christ – to please Him. In the end Rachel is rewarded with two sons, Joseph and Benjamin.

Esther 6 tells of Haman’s plot against Mordecai and how it backfired. So Haman came in, and the king said to him, “What should be done to the man whom the king delights to honor?” And Haman said to himself, “Whom would the king delight to honor more than me?” (Es 6:6) Haman falsely thought himself honorable. He was dishonorable because he was dishonest. Thinking he would be rewarded, he became the unwilling vehicle of honoring his enemy – the truly honorable man.

“Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also, for that is why I came out.” And he went throughout all Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and casting out demons. (Mark 1:38-39) Jesus was eager to speak words of life and to set free those who were captive to evil.

Paul says to Roman believers, without ceasing I mention you always in my prayers, asking that somehow by God’s will I may now at last succeed in coming to you. (Ro 1:9b-10) Paul wanted to return to Rome. Later, he did. He was taken in chains to testify and ultimately die for his faith. Along the way many heard the gospel and were saved. Paul paid the ultimate price in human terms, though he often said it was worth any price to run the race to the end to obtain the prize he so eagerly awaited.

Father, give me an eager desire for you. Give me that kind of burning passion, rightly placed, to speak words of life. Fill me with your Holy Spirit. Search me, purify me, and lead me on the path you have established for me. Grant me what you will for your name’s sake that you be praised. Put inside me eagerness to love. Protect me from my own unrighteous desires and give me vision to keep my eyes on you, O Lord. Give me a spirit of eagerness for your service, for obedience, and discernment to avoid the traps of the evil one. I love you, Lord. Amen.

Lance Ponder

(divinelogos.wordpress.com)

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Filed under Esther, Genesis, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Mark, New Testament, Old Testament, Romans

Genesis 29; Esther 5; Matthew 28; Acts 28

I have a soft spot for the underdog. When I read about Leah, I picture this oldest daughter whose eyes were bad, whose name meant “cow”, who was given in marriage by trickery.

What I don’t read is her daily inner dialog. Only a few hints at her thoughts, these words heavy–

“… the Lord has seen my misery …”

“… the Lord heard that I am not loved …”

I linger there with her. While other readings speak of Esther’s strength, the Great Commission, Paul’s bold proclamation … it’s this winter morning I sit by Leah.

Leah hoped the Lord’s blessing on her would make her husband love her more. It didn’t. Each time she bore him a son, I hear hope in her despair: misery, not loved, maybe this time he’ll love me … now at last! It didn’t happen. Each time, I wonder if she missed the blessing because she was focused on what she didn’t have.

At the birth of her fourth son, she said, “This time I will praise the Lord.” So she named him Judah. Then she stopped having children. Genesis 29:35 (NIV).

I think of areas in my life: where I may miss out on a blessing because I focus on what I don’t have; when I use the blessings I have (or my works) as a means to gain favor with those whose affections are far; where joy is balanced precariously on another’s opinion of me. How much have I forfeited in the chase for approval?

When Leah chooses to praise the Lord, she stops having children. After enough of “I will be happy if”, “I will be happy when”, she just determines to give praise.

Father, I feel so exhausted some days trying to control things out of my control, burdening myself with the chase of happiness if and when, when I can find peace in you NOW. Lord, when I give you praise, I know it is then I can find rest and joy. Thank you for this reminder today.

Courtney (66books365)

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Genesis 28, Matthew 27, Esther 4, Acts 27

 Faith-Fullness

          And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, He gave up His Spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. Matthew 27:50-51 ~ Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me …then the LORD will be my God… and of all that You give me I will give You a tenth.”  Gen 28:20-22 ~   ” And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?” Esther 4:14

Found at Bible Gateway –  http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Gen.%2028;%20Matt.%2027;%20Esther%204;%20Acts%2027&version=NIV1984

      Genesis 28 – Jacob heard his father’s command and blessing, and obeyed. Enduring great inconvenience, he married within his faith. Esau ran in the opposite direction. (“See that no one is sexually immoral, or is godless like Esau” Hebrews 12:16)   Jacob’s faithfulness brought God near (James 4:7-8). Hearing the Lord’s promised blessings caused Jacob to react. A verbal contract backed up by tangible actions: Jacob vowed that “the LORD will be my God” and “of all that You give me I will give You a tenth.”   

Matthew 27 – Jesus’ friend betrayed him. The religious leaders chose to kill the “good teacher”. The soldiers mocked the Son of God. The official ruler declared Jesus innocent. Yet All the people answered, “Let His blood be on us and on our children!” v.25. God’s actions said, Let it be so.

            The Son of God chose to die for each of them, and me. He carried out His mission to the point of being forsaken by His God and Father. (v.46, Psalm 22) Jesus gave up His Spirit. No one took it from Him. His Father proved that the Sacrifice was acceptable by tearing the curtain of the temple in two from top to bottom. (v. 50-51) A witness stated, “Surely he was the Son of God!”

            Jesus took the wrath of God upon Himself so that I can be acceptable to His Father and am enabled to live for God on His terms.  

Esther 4 – I have been born into my family and circumstances. God knows what He is doing. The Holy One never makes mistakes. Every moment I have a choice. I can stand up for what God says and does, or I can back down and perish. God Word tells me how I can live the life God desires for me, pointing others to Christ Jesus. I can help save eternal souls along the way. Or I can wimp out and be ashamed of my Awesome Magnificent Good God. I can fear man and try to control my temporal life, valuing anything more than my relationship with Jesus Christ. Yet I must account to God for my ignoring His commands, for causing pain and eternal suffering of other people, and all to my deep personal detriment. Esther chose the right thing. Fast, pray, seek God’s power and strength, and then go and do as God commands with boldness for the love of God and people.  162  

Acts 27 – In my life I have all sorts of trouble. I can’t even predict them in order to prepare for them. So I must cling to my relationship with Jesus and His Word. I must live by God’s Holy Spirit. Only then can I ride out the storm with His Peace, wisdom and protection, for His good purposes and glory.   

         Lord God, Creator of my soul, I do not want to be like Judas or Esau. I do not want to turn my head, heart or will against You, the Son of God. But when I do, by my thoughts, attitudes, words and actions, Lord, remind me “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.” 2 Corinthians 7:10  You are eager to forgive me. All I have to do is repent, hate my sin by seeing it as You see it, and then live with You and not against You. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9

            Father God, I want to be like Jesus, Jacob, Esther and Paul, doing Your will. Lord, I surrender my thoughts and patterns to Yours. Build within me a breach of loyalty to the ideologies of those who do not take Your Word to heart and action. Reveal to me where I am yoked with “disbelief” in my marriage, parenting, in business attitudes and practices, and in cultural (im)morals. You sealed me with Your Holy Spirit to be your forever-child. May I live conscious of Your Goodness and fully tithe before taxes cheerfully out of gratitude for Your Son taking Your wrath for me!! Thank You! – What a small price to pay (out of Your gifting to begin with!) for eternal salvation!! Use Your money Your way to increase Your Kingdom my Lord! I delight in Your Presence. It is more joyous to me than anyone or anything else! Thank you that Your Word is true! If I live Your way You will have Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven! I look forward to it!! Amen        

Crystal (PsalmThirty4)

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Genesis 27; Matthew 26; Esther 3; Acts 26

“You are out of your mind, Paul!”  Acts 26:24

That was the response of Festus, the Roman Governor of Judea, after Paul’s impassioned and eloquent speech to King Agrippa. 

Paul amazes me in his ability to thoughtfully, logically, and compassionately present the arguments for who Jesus is.  Equally amazing is that he is willing to do so at great personal cost: his loss of freedom and complete humiliation.  I’m fine with presenting Christ in comfortable surroundings, to “friendly” listeners.  But I live in fear of being ridiculed.  Despite his credentials, Paul believed it was a worthwhile trade to be persecuted and thought the fool in the off chance that someone in his audience might respond to the truth of Jesus Christ. 

King Agrippa mocks him,  “Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?”   And Paul responds with love,  “Short time or long–I pray God that not only you but all who are listening to me today may become what I am, except for these chains.”  (Acts 26:28-29)

Am I willing to be persecuted to spread the word of God?  Am I willing to risk being thought the fool to let people know about the source of the hope that is in me?

Lord,

Grant me boldness to proclaim your name even if it means I will be persecuted.  Give me the eloquence to make convincing arguments and, yet, the humility to accept that sometimes I will still look like a fool.  Amen.

Greg (gmd40187)

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Gen. 26; Matt. 25; Esther 2; Acts 25

Themes of Acts 25:

False accusations (v. 7),

Entrapment (v. 3),

Injustice (v. 8).

Sound familiar?

In the various accounts of the trials of Jesus throughout the Gospels, there are noted similarities to Paul’s trial in Acts.

Acts 25:27 ~ “For I think it is unreasonable to send a prisoner on to Rome without specifying the charges against him” – Festus

Luke 23:4 ~ Then Pilate announced to the chief priests and the crowd, “I find no basis for a charge against this man.”

Acts 25: 10b ~ “I have not done any wrong to the Jews, as you yourself know very well.”

John 18:23 ~  “If I said something wrong,” Jesus replied, “testify as to what is wrong. But if I spoke the truth, why did you strike me?”

I couldn’t help notice similar general weaving themselves through the trial of Jesus and Paul. I am not suggesting the two are mirror images, but the comparisons are certainly there. False accusations, entrapment, injustice.

More pertinent and relevant than the similarities, is the idea and theme in my own life of experiencing the trials of Jesus to become more like Him.

I think that Paul was intentionally allowed to experience this “trial” to grow, be changed, and experience more of the life and death of Christ.

The battle cry of enduring all to be more like Him, to

know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. Phil. 3:10-11

To become like him in his death as I submit to my parents,

To become like him in his death as I listen to a friend unload their life,

To become like him in his death as I make time to rest. Cease striving. Admit that I am not God. And allow Him to take His rightful place.

And hopefully, through these trials, through these tiny “deaths to self,” that the resurrection of Christ may be more revealed in me. As I die. And He becomes my life.

– christiancourier517

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