Friday, December 5, 2008
One day, the father of a very wealthy family took his son on a trip to the country with the express purpose of showing him how poor people live.
They spent a couple of days and nights on the farm of what would be considered a very poor family.
On their return from their trip, the father asked his son, "How was the trip?"
It was great, Dad." Did you see how poor people live?" the father asked. Oh yeah," said the son.
So, tell me, what did you learn from the trip?" asked the father.
The son answered:
"I saw that we have one dog and they had four. We have a pool that reaches to the middle of our garden and they have a creek that has no end.
We have imported lanterns in our garden and they have the stars at night.
Our patio reaches to the front yard and they have the whole horizon.
We have a small piece of land to live on and they have fields that go beyond our sight.
We have servants who serve us, but they serve others.
We buy our food, but they grow theirs.
We have walls around our property to protect us, they have friends to protect them."
The boy's father was speechless.
Then his son added, "Thanks Dad for showing me how poor we are."
Isn't perspective a wonderful thing? Makes you wonder what would happen if we all gave thanks for everything we have, instead of worrying about what we don't have.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
To see more about Fireproof, and to watch the captivating trailer, click on the picture below. Also, I stumbled across a Fireproof BLOG. Check that out HERE.
Thursday, October 2, 2008
I am really enjoying our Ladies Bible Study this Fall, led by Esthie at our church. If you are able to come, it is from 9:30 - 11 every Tuesday morning at the church. We are studying the topic of Prayer. So I wanted to post a scripture and a song...
I Thessalonians 5:16-18
I hear you say your heart is aching
You've got trouble in the making
And you ask if I'll be praying for you please
And in keeping with conviction
I'll say yes with good intentions
To pray later making mention of your needs
But since we have this moment here at heaven's door
We should start knocking now, what are we waiting for?
Let us pray, let us pray, everywhere in every way
Every moment of the day, it is the right time
For the Father above, He is listening with love
And He wants to answer us, so let us pray
So when we feel the Spirit moving
Prompting, prodding and behooving
There is no time to be losing, let us pray
Let the Father hear us saying
What we need to be conveying
Even while this song is playing, let us pray
And just because we say the word, "Amen"
It doesn't mean this conversation needs to end
Let us pray, let us pray, everywhere in every way
Every moment of the day, it is the right time
Let us pray without end and when we finish start again
Like breathing out and breathing in, let us pray
Let us approach the throne of grace with confidence
As our prayers draw us near
To the One who knows our needs
Before we even call His name
Let us pray everywhere in every way
Every moment of the day, it is the right time
Let us pray without end and when we finish start again
Like breathing out and breathing in, let us pray
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Anyway, I still want to tell you about it, and let you know it is starting tomorrow morning, Thursday, September 11th.... at 9:10am at Grace Church in Abbotsford, on McMillan Road (off Marshall).
There is a time of singing, discussion, and a wonderful Lecture, then you have questions that you can complete in your devotional time at home. You will love it... the one at this location and time is for women, but there is a men's class that meets on Monday nights at Central Heights Church in Abbotsford as well. I hope you will consider joining if you are able! It is well worth the time you put in.
Kids' BSF... Last year I was able to take my boys along with me to BSF and they learned so much. They are the reason I joined, because I had heard such wonderful things about the kids' program - and I was not let down... songs, stories, gym time and music... all in a safe place with loving and caring teachers. Your kids will love it too! I hope you'll check it out. (Kids must be at least 2 years old to join the kids program).
Friday, August 15, 2008
Currently, my favourite verse is Philippians 4:13...
But, as I was reading through the whole chapter this morning, along with the notes at the bottom (my new Life Application Study Bible... I totally recommend it!) I decided that I don't have a favourite verse anymore - I have a favourite CHAPTER!!!!
Look at the verses that are in this chapter... they are powerhouse!!
verse 4 REJOICE in the Lord always, and gain I say, REJOICE!
verse 6 Be careful (or anxious) for nothing: but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
verse 7 And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep you hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
verse 8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
verse 13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
verse 19 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
verse 20 Now unto God and our Father be glory for ever and ever Amen.
Then just when you think he is done, Paul sends a final greeting to his friends - and remember... Paul is in PRISON when he writes this. He is rejoicing in Jesus from behind bars. Wow!
verse 23 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.
What is YOUR favourite verse? Please feel free to leave a comment and a bit about why it's your favourite.
Have a great day!
Sunday, July 27, 2008
But what about the times when you KNOW you are right? What about the times when you KNOW it should be the other person to bend? Whether this is in your marriage, your church or some other relationship, there is only one good choice... pray. Pray that the eyes and hearts of the other person are softened, and pray that you would be gracious if you are found to be right. And if you are NOT right (gasp, that's not possible... is it??) then you need to accept that, too, and make every effort to keep the peace. And where there is no peace, then find a way to restore it, be a peaceMAKER.
Here are a few more verses on peace... from the NIV version of the Bible...
Consider the blameless, observe the upright; there is a future for the man of peace. Psalm 37:37
There is deceit in the hearts of those who plot evil, but joy for those who promote peace. Prov. 12:20
You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you. Isaiah 26:3
The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace. Romans 8:6
For God is not a God of disorder but of peace. As in all the congregations of the saints. 1 Cor. 14:33
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Saturday, July 12, 2008
A burglar broke into a house one night.
He shined his flashlight around, looking for valuables; and when he picked up a CD player to place in his sack, a strange, disembodied voice echoed from the dark saying, 'Jesus is watching you.'
He nearly jumped out of his skin, clicked his flashlight off, and froze. When he heard nothing more after a bit, he shook his head and continued.
Just as he pulled the stereo out so he could disconnect the wires, clear as a bell he heard, 'Jesus is watching you.' Freaked out, he shined his light around frantically, looking for the source of the voice. Finally, in the corner of the room, his flashlight beam came to rest on a parrot.
'Did you say that?' He hissed at the parrot.
'Yep,' the parrot confessed, then squawked, 'I'm just trying to warn you.'
The burglar relaxed. 'Warn me, huh? Who in the world are you?'
'Moses,' replied the bird.
'Moses?' the burglar laughed. 'What kind of people would name a bird Moses?'
'The kind of people that would name a Rottweiler Jesus.'
Friday, June 27, 2008
One of my friends has chosen Psalm 46:10 for her life verse...
What a great verse. Slow down. sit still. read your Bible. meditate.
In the midst of your busy Summer, while you are traveling here and there, or BBQing with these friends or those friends... remember to take the time to be still and rest in God. Even if you go away on holidays somewhere, find a church to worship in. Or if you are far from a church, gather everyone close and take time to "do church" on your vacation. Where 2 or 3 are gathered in His name, he is there too. You don't need a fancy building, but you DO need the fellowship of other believers.
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
One of Beth's messages was on LOVE. Here are some of the thoughts that I took away from her message....
One of the hardest things in life is rejection. And the only way to feel rejection is if we have first loved someone. All we need to create an environment for rejection is relationship. Jesus was rejected by his own people (John 1:11 - He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.) So, Jesus knows how we feel when other people hurt us.
Rejection can wound deeper and last longer than hosts of other injuries. It can also tempt us to invite things into our lives that we never dreamed we would have welcomed, and cause us to act in ways we never dreamed of behaving.
When we feel rejected, we sometimes take 2 very erroneous actions... first, we want to recover what rejected us (I want it back), and secondly we want to reject who/what rejected us. (we want revenge, but it won't work). Nothing makes the fool of us that rejection does.
There is life after rejection. Rejection gives us the perfect opportunity to fellowship in the sufferings of Christ... he KNOWS how we feel. Sometimes rejection on one hand leads to reconciliation on the other hand.
If someone rejects you for your belief in Christ, Christ takes it personally, and HE will deal with it... let him.
Through all our life long, we need to remember the Sovereignty of God... Romans 11:15 For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?
And the other is the Supremacy of God.
The Stone the builders rejected has become the Cornerstone... you are a chosen generation. God is in CONTROL of all things.
In 1 Samuel, the people of Israel demanded a King so they could be like the other Nations... but the LAST thing God wants is for us to be like everybody else. Be set apart.... 1 Samuel 8:7 And the LORD told him: "Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king.
The word rejection appears 120 times in the Bible, and many of those times are referring to the rejection of Jesus Christ. When you feel rejected, don't think for a minute that nobody feels your pain... Jesus does, and he is where you will find healing for your hurts, as well.
We will not be hurt if we do not love, but we are commanded to love one another. There are so many verses in the Bible where love overcomes hurts and pain, perfect love drives out fear (1 John 4:18) God is love (1 John 4:16) 1 Cor. 13:4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
And the last one, which may be the hardest, is Luke 6:35 which tells us "But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked."
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Steven Curtis Chapman’s youngest child died Wednesday afternoon after being struck by a car driven by her teenage brother in the driveway of the family’s Williamson County home.
Maria, one of the Christian singer’s six children, was taken by LifeFlight to Vanderbilt Hospital, which confirmed the death, according to Laura McPherson, a spokeswoman for the Tennessee Highway Patrol.
The 5-year-old was hit by an SUV driven by her teenage brother, she said. Police did not give the driver’s name.
The teen was driving a Toyota Land Cruiser down the driveway of the rural home at about 5:30 p.m. and several children were playing in the area, McPherson said. He did not see Maria in the driveway before the vehicle struck her, she said.
“It appears to be a terrible accident,’’ McPherson said.
No charges are expected, she said. The accident was witnessed by two other children; the entire family was home at the time, McPherson said.
Sunday, May 18, 2008
The couple were 85 years old, and had been married for sixty years. Though they were far from rich, they managed to get by because they watched their pennies.
Though not young, they were both in very good health, largely due to the wife's insistence on healthy foods and exercise for the last decade.
One day , their good health didn't help when they went on a rare vacation and their plane crashed, sending them off to Heaven.
They reached the pearly gates, and St. Peter escorted them inside. He took them to a beautiful mansion, furnished in gold and fine silks, with a fully stocked kitchen and a waterfall in the master bath. A maid could be seen hanging their favorite clothes in the closet.
They gasped in astonishment when he said, 'Welcome to Heaven. This will be your home now.'
The old man asked Peter how much all this was going to cost. 'Why, nothing,' Peter replied, 'remember, this is your reward in Heaven.'
The old man looked out the window and right there he saw a championship golf course, finer and more beautiful than any ever built on Earth. 'What are the greens fees?,' grumbled the old man.
'This is heaven,' St. Peter replied. 'You can play for free, every day.'
Next they went to the clubhouse and saw the lavish buffet lunch, with every imaginable cuisine laid out before them, from seafood to steaks to exotic deserts, free flowing beverages.
'Don't even ask,' said St. Peter to the man. This is Heaven, it is all free for you to enjoy.'
The old man looked around and glanced nervously at his wife.
'Well, where are the low fat and low cholesterol foods, and the decaffeinated tea?,' he asked.
'That's the best part,' St. Peter replied. 'You can eat and drink as much as you like of whatever you like, and you will never get fat or sick. This is Heaven!'
The old man pushed, 'No gym to work out at?'
'Not unless you want to,' was the answer.
'No testing my sugar or blood pressure or...'
'Never again. All you do here is enjoy yourself.'
The old man glared at his wife and said, 'You and your bran muffins. We could have been here ten years ago!'
Monday, May 5, 2008
Saturday, April 26, 2008
I was just e-mailed a copy of this letter. I thought some of you would be interested. It was written By James Robison (of the tv program "Life Today"). He is a close friend of Beth Moore and she appears on his show every Wednesday. Lets pray for Oprah that she will be open to the words of his letter.
A Love Letter To Oprah
by James Robison
Let's pray for Oprah Winfrey and everyone she influences.
I remember when you first launched your daily talk program throughout the country. My wife and I have watched with amazement as it has grown. I know you have been gratified by its broad acceptance and popularity.
My wife Betty and I have been praying for you since Gene Self (my former staff member and close friend of Stedman's) began to tell me about the relationship you had with his friend. On numerous occasions I thought we were going to be able to get together and just talk based on comments Stedman made to my associate. This never occurred, but we have watched your television programs and especially the talk format grow until they have worldwide impact.
Betty and I also host a daily television program, LIFE Today (www.lifetoday.org), which airs around the world. I also founded the ministry of Life Outreach International. With the help of countless supporters, Betty and I have been sharing the life and love of God in word and deed in the U.S. and abroad. We focus heavily on Africa, feeding more than 400,000 children each month and drilling hundreds of fresh water wells.
I am writing out of a sincere love and concern for you. I have heard some comments recently, visited the "New Earth" and witnessed the influence of Eckhart Tolle. Some of your statements concerning your beliefs and the direction you are going actually brought tears to my wife's eyes. She was stunned to hear your views of Jesus Christ, eternity and the Bible
You are a true example of the opportunity and success that America offers people who have had difficult challenges. I can relate, because I am the product of a forced sexual relationship on a 40-year-old woman. As I child, I spent time in a foster home, then with my birth mother and a stepfather who could not read or write. Later, my violent, alcoholic father came back into the picture. It ended when I pointed a gun at him in self-defense as he threatened to kill me. By the grace of God, I did not have to pull the trigger. A couple of years later, I committed my life to Christ and God changed me, established my life, and gave me a future. My wife Betty and I recently celebrated our 45th wedding anniversary. We have three children and 11 grandchildren.
We have witnessed the vast influence you have been afforded. There is no question that you sincerely care about people. Your outreach in Africa and your personal response to the suffering you have seen reveals your genuine interest in the well-being of others. I believe you truly care about others.
You have become popular because you shared your own challenges, your own questions and your own failures. You have shared your battle with weight and tried to help people improve their own health. Anything that helped you, you passed on. I appreciate that. I sense that you believe in God and want the best for all His people.
What breaks my heart is that somehow we, as Christians, have failed to effectively communicate the greatness of our God to you. I cannot express how much I want you to fully experience the grace that God freely shares through Jesus Christ, as well as the supernatural enabling He provides "to live appropriately and victoriously in the now," as you eloquently put it.
We both know that life can be difficult, but God Almighty has provided a helper through the person of His Holy Spirit to walk through the valleys and also enable us to experience success without our gain becoming idolatrous addiction. He offers us the very things that you claim to be discovering in a mind-boggling journey wrapped in New Age philosophy and relativism. The Apostle Paul warned against the human tendency to justify ungodly ideas by "changing the truth of God into a lie" and allowing our own appetites and desires to control us rather than the proven principles of the Bible.
Here is my great concern. You have obviously seen good Christians whom you admire, such as CeCe Winans and Nicole C. Mullen. I know both of these wonderful women and I am sure they shared the reality of a personal and deep relationship with Jesus Christ. But where have we, as Christians, either in our prayer life or in our example failed to connect with you and inspire you so you could see Jesus as He really is? Many have seen limited portraits of God, such as the extreme suffering depicted in Mel Gibson's The Passion of Christ. But you may not have been able to see the power of the comment Jesus made to his mother when he fell beneath the weight of the cross in that movie. He commented, "Mother, I came to make all things new."
Oprah, He is the one who enables us to rightly live in the now. Only Jesus Christ can free us from past problems, present pressures and future pursuits that can become idols. Rather, we look back on the past, thank God for the lessons we have learned, trust Him for grace to deal with painful experiences, and provide present abiding power to count it all joy when we face temptation and trials, knowing that He will walk with us not only in the presence of our enemies and accusers, but even through the valley of the shadow of death. He is our ever-present spiritual and personal Shepherd. Think about this: He said it was necessary to leave and send "another of the same kind" -- the Holy Spirit, His Spirit living in us in order for us to live life fully and freely.
Surely you have seen the reality of this eternal truth. The fact is He not only covers the past and provides for the present, but He also promises to secure our future. We are, in fact, eternal beings. We are not creatures of the day. It breaks my heart to hear you say that a sentence from your pastor concerning God being a jealous God caused you to reconsider your entire belief system. You misunderstood what the pastor intended and the reality of God's jealousy. He is not jealous of us, He is jealous for us in the sense that He does not want to see anything foolishly captivate us and take us as prisoners. God does not want you to miss the supernatural fulfillment that He freely offers. It is like a wife being jealous not because her husband associates with other women, but because she knows that he might be captivated by a false relationship and taken away from his first love and his family. Godly jealousy is an expression of love and concern for our best interests -- not a petty human emotion of fear, but concern that we might miss the very essence of life.
Oprah, you are gifted. You have been so blessed and I know you recognize and appreciate it. I believe that you want to share the best you can discover with others. But Oprah, can I encourage you to please sit down and go a little deeper and discover something that will also truly enable your friend Eckhart Tolle and others caught up in his teaching to see that God has given us Himself in the person of Jesus Christ, who not only lived and died, but now through the power of His Spirit is available to live in us if we open ourselves to His indwelling presence? This is not mere religion, it is relationship with the living God and an unconditional love for others.
You are an honest seeker and sincere in your desire to help others. Please give us as Christians another chance to clearly communicate the matchless, amazing grace of our great God and give Jesus, the One who has never in any way failed, the opportunity to become the fullness of life for you and those you care about. He will enable you to deal with the past, live fully and meaningfully in the now, and secure your future, so that whatever challenges may come, you will have a Friend and Father who never leaves or forsakes you.
As believers, Betty and I are praying for you and encouraging every person with faith in Jesus Christ to lift you up in loving prayer before the Lord. You are a special person and it is my prayer that you not miss anything God has to offer. I pray that your journey will inspire all of us to examine our lives and become more consistent, compassionate, effective witnesses for Christ. Perhaps each of us as Christians should feel some weight of responsibility for not more effectively demonstrating the great message of hope found in Christ. Those who have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ will never be disappointed in Him.
God loves you so much, as well as everyone you sincerely seek to inspire.
Praying His best for you and those you love,
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
The Bible Studies are going great. And I can hardly believe that we are halfway through this round of studies. Yesterday we worked on our paper bag scrapbooks, and I thought I would include a couple pics of what mine looks like so far. I have a long way to go, but that's ok... it's a journey of faith we're on day to day, so even if you all don't finish in the next 4 weeks, I hope you'll continue to work on it over the next weeks and months.
The cover... some people called theirs "My Journey of Faith" or something similar. I chose to call mine Walking by Faith, because I like that verse in 2 Cor. 5:7 "For we walk by faith and not by sight."
One of my inside pages
This is my "In Everything give thanks" page... and the tab there is on a little prayer of thankfulness for my family that I wrote.
The way the bag books are put together creates all kinds of natural pockets for pictures or for additional scripture verses or prayers.
Next week we are going to have another DVD study featuring Beth Moore again. I hope you all can make it!
Thursday, April 17, 2008
It was my husband Harry's birthday a few weeks ago. We had planned to travel to Portland, Oregon on a business trip together that day and then travel onwards for a "little holiday." Then, our "little holiday" grew two weeks prior to his birthday to an 8 Day Mexican Riviera Cruise leaving from Los Angeles. This was a "first" for us, so needless to say we were very excited about going on a cruise. Plans were made for us to fly from Portland, when the conference ended, to meet the ship at the Los Angeles dock. The morning of Harry's birthday was a frenzy of activity as we were both going to our respective places of work that day. Our plans were to leave at 4 pm later that day to drive from our home in Abbotsford, across the U.S. border, down to Oregon.
At 10 a.m I got a phone call from my husband. The local police department had phoned him at his office to say that that they were in possession of his briefcase. They had found his business card in the briefcase. It had been found at the park close by the police station. This could only mean one thing. Our house had been broken into.
When we arrived home, we discovered several things had been stolen. There is always the sense of violation that comes with a robbery. There were sentimental items stolen which all the insurance money in the world cannot replace. That day however, our most important documents, needed for the trip that day, were our passports. Harry had put those in the briefcase the night before.
That afternoon Harry went to the police station to pick up the briefcase. This is where we believe the miracle happened. They were still in the briefcase. We could still go on our trip. Otherwise we would have had to cancel everything.
Was it a kind thief who saw we were going on a trip and chose to leave the briefcase in a visible place by the police station? Or was it God's sovereign grace showing us that He is still in control even when things seem to go wrong? I choose to believe the latter.
The cruise was amazing. However, beyond the great experience of a holiday like that, the most wonderful thing that happened was that due to a series of circumstances, we met a Christian crew member who needed prayer. We had the privilege of praying for our brother in the Lord on the staff of that ship, with some other Christians we had met during the course of the week.
We make our plans but then the Lord guides us in His perfect path as He says in Proverbs 3:5 : "Commit your ways to the LORD and He shall direct your path."
Nothing is a surprise to God!
Monday, April 14, 2008
How did another week go by so fast? Well, it happened!! And tomorrow morning is Bible Study time again.... we will be watching a dvd with Priscilla Shirer speaking, and then starting our Faith mini scrapbooks.
Hope to see you all there! 9:30 is start time.
Monday, April 7, 2008
This week we'll be hearing Jennifer Rothschild speaking on her experiences of Walking By Faith (Lessons Learned in the Dark).
Tomorrow morning at 9:30... and we'll be in the Fireside room this week! This will be great because the chairs are way more comfy!!!!
Hope to see you all there.
2 Corinthians 5:7
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
Monday, March 31, 2008
Tomorrow morning at 9:30 we will start our Bible Study again! Yay! I have missed you all!! We will be going through DVD messages, all given by women speakers, including Beth Moore, Angela Thomas, Anne Graham Lotz, Priscilla Shirer, and Jennifer Rothschild.
There are 6 DVD messages, but we will meet for 8 weeks. So.... what will we do for the other 2 weeks? Leanne and I have been brainstorming ways to "Scrapbook Your Faith." And that is what we'll be doing for the other 2 Tuesdays, as well as the extra time in a couple weeks (there are a couple of the studies that are fairly short, so we should be through them and the lesson in 45 minutes, and have the remainder of the time to work on our mini books).
NOTE: We will not be scrapbooking tomorrow, so don't bring anything other than a Bible until I tell you otherwise!
So, you might have some questions:
1 - Do I need to be a scrapbooker?? NOOOOO!!!! This will not be a hard assignment. You simply need to be yourself.
2 - Do I need to own scrapbooking supplies to participate?? NOOOOO!!! If you have your own tools that you know and love, you are more than welcome to bring them along and use them, and share them with others, if you wish. But if you have nothing, you need to bring nothing. We will provide what you need.
3 - I've never scrapbooked before, should I stay home for those 2 weeks?? HERE'S THE BIGGEST NOOOOOO YET!!!!! Our goal here is not to make you into a "lifer" of scrapbooking, (but if that happens, it's really not such a bad thing!!!) Our goal here is for you to put down in a keepsake the thoughts and memories of how you have grown in your faith, whether it be an old faith or a brand new walk..... and to see how God has used you, moved you and loved you in every step of your walk.
There's a quick overview of what you can expect in the next 8 weeks. I really hope that everyone that is able will come on out and take part in our Ladies Bible Study at RRCC for the next 8 weeks.
See you in the morning!
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
The Cause Driven Church
by Erwin Raphael McManus
The early church existed with a dynamic tension: it was both expanding and consolidating - growing and unifying. The Bible tells us that first century believers “shared everything in common” and that “the church was being added to day by day.” We want our church to live in this same tension.
This tension is illustrated by two biblical images - the body of Christ and the army of God. The body of Christ is centered on community; the army of God is centered on cause.
Healthy community flows out of a unified cause - not the other way around. Jesus called his disciples and said, “Follow me. I’ll make you fishers of men.” This was not an offer of community. “Follow me and I will give you something worthy of giving your life to” is a statement of cause. But the neat thing is, when they came to the cause, they found community like they never knew could exist. That’s the power of the church.
One danger of the American church is that we often try to offer people community without cause. Without cause, you’re just another civic organization. You don’t have life transformation.
Jesus said, “I have come to the world to seek and to save that which is lost.” The cause of Christ is accomplished by expanding the kingdom of God.
Communicating the gospel in a postmodern context can make us feel forced to compete with the entertainment industry. You might be able to compete if you have millions of dollars and that level of expertise. Most of us don’t. We have only one advantage that neither Hollywood nor MTV has. We have the presence and power of the living God!
Why in the world would we eliminate God’s power from our core strategy and actually move to a deficit rather than to an advantage?
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Turn off your TV
Leave your house
Know your neighbours
Invite someone to church
Look up when you’re walking
Sit on your step
Use the library
Buy from local merchants
Share what you have
Help a lost dog
Take children to the park
Support neighbourhood schools
Fix it even if you didn’t break it
Pick up litter
Read stories aloud
Talk to the mail Carrier
Listen to the birds
Put up a swing
Help carry something heavy
Barter for your goods
Start a tradition
Ask a question
Hire Young people for odd jobs
Organize a block party
Bake extra and share
Ask for help when you need it
Open your shades
Share your skills
Take back the night
Turn up the music
Turn down the music
Listen before you react to anger
Mediate a conflict
Seek to understand
Learn from new and uncomfortable angles
Know that no one is silent though
Many are not heard
Work to change this
Here's a pic of the new sign recently put up on the outside of our church.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Friday, March 14, 2008
I am finding that over and over again this year while studying the book of Matthew in my BSF class. I don't know how many times I have read through Matthew. But seeing as it is the first book of the New Testament, I think Matthew, along with the other 3 Gospels, is one of the books of the New Testament that I have read the most. Anyway, it's many times! But then as we go through verse by verse, parable by parable, through promises and prophecies, and the character of Jesus Christ - oh how the Bible comes alive. To read it is not enough.... the little ditty that they teach in Sunday School, "Read your Bible, pray every day.... and you'll grow, grow, grow...." I don't think that is enough. To really LEARN and see and know the Bible you must study it. Reading is a start, and if you are doing nothing right now, then to read it is a great start! But to get the most out of it and to see how the Bible is God's LIVING word....... I need to do more than just skim the verses.
What's the difference? To read it is to merely open it and read the verses on the page. To study it means to read it, think about it, then read it again with a pen in your hand... write some notes, answer some questions, and to really make it stick - talk about what you read and learned with someone else.
What does it mean that the Word is living? When you experience the "living and active" part of the Bible as we see in Hebrews 4:12:
"For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any double-edged sword. It penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow, it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart."
You start to think more of verses, and when you need encouragement you recite the verses that you have memorized... you are more ready with an answer when someone asks you what Christianity is all about, or who Jesus is. And the part you study is what you need for that day. When temptation comes your way, you follow the example of Jesus and quote scripture promises... you don't try to fight temptation on your own, because you will inevitably fail.
How can it happen that the day I read a certain passage, something happens later in the day where I may need to encourage someone, or clarify a piece of scripture, and the verses I read earlier in the day are relevant. It happens because the scripture is alive. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
Are you at a point in your life where Bible reading is your desire? Where you need it as your fuel for the day. You need to have that communion with God each day to survive. It won't happen overnight, and it will take action on your part, but when you see the Scriptures come alive, it will become a part of your day... you will see so many blessings and benefits from spending that time.
So how do you start? Find a time of the day when you have the least amount of distractions. Find a time when you can be alone. And if you can't find the time... MAKE the time!!!!!!!! Start small... start with something not too hard. I wouldn't suggest you try to memorize all the kings of Israel and Judah in your first week of study... you might lose heart. Try Jesus. Read about his life on earth in the Gospels. Then read them again. Once you fall in love with Jesus, you will want to know the whole story. The Bible shows us that if we ask for understanding, we will receive it. And when we lack faith, ask for help in this area, too. When there is a Bible truth that you have a hard time grasping or accepting, follow the lead of the father in the book of Mark, chapter 9 who asked Jesus to heal his son. "If you can" he said, and Jesus said, "Everything is possible for him who believes." Immediately the boy's father exclaimed, "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief." (Mark 9:23-24) And when you struggle with understanding, follow the example of the disciples when they asked Jesus to explain parables to them. (see Matthew 13:36 "Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field." )
Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. Matthew 7:7-8. What will you ask for in relation to the Bible this week? Ask for help to be diligent to study the Word, ask for understanding of what you read, and ask for help to live it out in your daily life.
Have a great week! I hope you experience the Bible as Living and active as you go through each day.
Saturday, March 8, 2008
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
Author Unknown (or invisible :)
It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phone and ask to be taken to the store. Inside I'm thinking, 'Can't you see I'm on the phone?'
Obviously not; no one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all. I'm invisible. The invisible Mom. Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more: Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this? Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a clock to ask, 'What time is it?' I'm a satellite guide to answer, 'What number is the Disney Channel?' I'm a car to order, 'Right around 5:30, please.' I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history and the mind that graduated summa cum laude - but now they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She's going, she's going, she's gone!
One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England. Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well.
It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, 'I brought you this.' It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe. I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her inscription:
'To Charlotte, with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.'
In the days ahead I would read - no, devour - the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work: No one can say who built the great cathedrals - we have no record of their names. These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished. They made great sacrifices and expected no credit. The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.
A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit thecathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, 'Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof? No one will ever see it.' And the workman replied, 'Because God sees.'
I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, 'I see you, Charlotte. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does. No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will become.'
At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a disease that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of my own self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride. I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on.
The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree. When I really think about it, I don't want my son to tell the friend he's bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, 'My Mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for three hours and presses all the linens for the table.' That would mean I'd built a shrine or a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, to add, 'You're gonna love it there.'
As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we're doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women.
Great Job, MOM!
Saturday, March 1, 2008
There was a great worship team led by Travis Cottrell, and his team. Amazing music and they really encouraged us to join in. As Beth said about him, "What I love best about Travis is that he is not a performer. He is a true worshiper."
For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight.
After we got back to the hotel, the 4 of us had a snack and then chatted for the longest time! Leanne and I both brought a "shoebox swap" card for all of us to make, so we stamped for awhile, and then talked some more.
A couple points that stood out from Beth's lecture today are:
When the priests in the Old Testament went before the throne of God they only did it on the Day of Atonement, otherwise they would die. In the Holy of Holies was the Mercy Seat, and only on that day were they protected to enter. When Jesus died on the cross, the cross was the ultimate Mercy Seat... and Good Friday was the day of atonement - not once a year, but ONCE AND FOR ALL!!!!!
Mercy and Grace identify Jesus in the Old Testament and the New Testament. The old and new fit together like a glove, because Jesus Christ is the same yesterday today and forever, and never changes. See Exodus 34, and Hebrews 4:16.
Mercy is Pardon
Grace is Power
What a great weekend!
Friday, February 29, 2008
You can find this book for purchase in the following online locations:
Monday, February 25, 2008
We are sometimes so hard on Eve, saying that she wrecked it for the world... they lived in Paradise as we will only know once we enter Heaven's gates. But even though Adam and Eve had incredible abundance, they chose the one fruit - the ONLY fruit that they weren't allowed to eat. Why? Well, if not Eve, it might have been the next person, or maybe it would have been Adam, or me. We often want the things that we don't need, or the things that we can or shouldn't take.... we often do exactly what Eve did.
Another point that was brought up was that Adam was "there with Eve" and he didn't say, "hey wait a minute, sweety, God said no to this one... but let's go get some ripe pomegranates, or I just noticed that the Granny Smiths were great for picking." Nope... he took some too. Why? Perhaps it's just a good indication of human nature. We can be tempted. Even Jesus was tempted when he walked on the earth. The difference is, of course, that he did not give into the temptation, and therefore remained sinless. Jesus used scripture against Satan and Jesus was victorious. We NEED to learn to do this too.
Our Bible Reference was from Genesis 2 and 3. Here are a few of the questions that we discussed:
- what was life like in the Garden?
- The serpent approaches the woman with a discussion about God. What doubts does he raise in her mind?
- what did Adam and Even give up by disobeying God's rules?
- Compare the woman's answer to the serpent's questions with God's original instruction in 2:17. Why do you think she amplified the instruction?
- The woman's first action was to re-examine the tree with serpent-enlightened eyes. What did she see?
- Did the woman think she was doing a bad thing when she took the fruit? Why?
- What was wrong with her focus?
- What were the immediate consequences of her action?
- How would you describe the serpent's strategy which effectively changed the relationships in the Garden of Eden?
- Even though the relationships in Eden were vastly changed, what evidence of God's grace do you see in these verses?
- It was only one tree and one little piece of fruit. What does Eve's experience teach us about the far-reaching consequences of our choices?
- resource - Women of the Old Testament by Gladys Hunt.
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Our topic was Ruth... well, kind of! The first couple questions I asked had to do with loyalty:
- How would you define loyalty?
- Is it hard to be loyal to people?
Those simple questions made our discussion take flight and we talked for over 45 minutes about loyalty, loyalty in families, loyalty in marriages, lack of loyalty in society, you name it.
So, this post is going to be just about loyalty. What does that word mean to YOU? I would love to have the discussion carry on further here... do you have a story to tell about how someone has shown loyalty to you? Or an answer to my questions above? Please feel free to leave your comments. I know people read this, because I've asked!!! But I'd love for you to feel free to jump into the discussion, even if you weren't at our Bible Study this week.
Some of the points of our discussion were:
- Loyalty is when you stand by someone no matter what.
- It's a form of commitment
- Society is greatly lacking loyalty, and we don't value loyalty in our society.
- Even when we don't necessarily see eye to eye with someone, or agree 100% with their stance - loyalty is standing beside them in support.
Tuesday, February 5, 2008
Monday, January 28, 2008
Thanks so much for being a part of this group of ladies!
ps - I know that people in other parts of the world that are getting even more snow than here will be laughing that "a little bit of snow" could cancel an event, but it is a lot for here!!!! It's coming down strong and steady right now, and isn't supposed to let up until later tomorrow, so..... I am not going anywhere!! And since I am the leader.....
Saturday, January 26, 2008
This is a bit too early to call weather forTuesday, but please check back here if it is snowing on Tuesday to find out whether or not we'll have Ladies Bible Study. If there is snow it will likely be cancelled unless it is old snow just on the side of the road.
Have a great weekend!
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
God never meant for us to live frenzied lives. Backbreaking schedules are not His idea. How can we, believers in Christ, restructure our lives and find a little refreshment?
• Reestablish the goal. Isaiah 43:7 tells us we were created for His glory. The purpose of our brief journey on this planet is to glorify God. He desires for us to pour the best of our energies into God works. Go back to the basics.
• Redirect your focus. Matthew 6:33 makes a revolutionary promise. If we seek God first, He will direct our schedules and help us to discern His priorities through the work of the Holy Spirit. Give the Matthew 6:33 approach a try! It really works!
• Rethink your motivation. Galatians 1:10 prompts us to ask ourselves if any of our activities are seeking man’s approval rather than God’s. If we seek to please people rather than God, rules will constantly change and expectations will soar.
• Rest in God’s will. Hebrews 4:10 says, “Anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work.” Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? God is not unreasonable. He does not heap on stress and then refuse to grant us rest. None of us can do one hundred things to the glory of God. Let’s find rest in His will and do a few things well.
Monday, January 21, 2008
Read ahead in Luke 10:41-42 and John 11:1-44 and chapter 12.
Read Rahab's whole story in Joshua 2, and 6:15-25.
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
For those of you who do not know Beth Moore, she is an outstanding Bible teacher, writer of Bible studies, and is a married mother of two daughters.
This is one of her experiences:
April 20, 2005, at the Airport in Knoxville, waiting to board the plane, I had the Bible on my lap and was very intent upon what I was doing. I'd had a marvelous morning with the Lord. I say this because I want to tell you it is a scary thing to have the Spirit of God really working in you. You could end up doing some things you never would have done otherwise. Life in the Spirit can be dangerous for a thousand reasons, not the least of which is your ego.
I tried to keep from staring, but he was such a strange sight. Humped over in a wheelchair, he was skin and bones, dressed in clothes that obviously fit when he was at least twenty pounds heavier. His knees protruded from his trousers, and his shoulders looked like the coat hanger was still in his shirt. His hands looked like tangled masses of veins and bones. The strangest part of him was his hair and nails. Stringy, gray hair hung well over his shoulders and down part of his back. His fingernails were long, clean but strangely out of place on an old man.
I looked down at my Bible as fast as I could, discomfort burning my face. As I tried to imagine what his story might have been, I found myself wondering if I'd just had a Howard Hughes sighting. Then, I remembered that he was dead. So this man in the airport...an impersonator maybe? Was a camera on us somewhere? There I sat; trying to concentrate on the Word to keep from being concerned about a thin slice of humanity served on a wheelchair only a few seats from me. All the while, my heart was growing more and more overwhelmed with a feeling for him. Let's admit it. Curiosity is a heap more comfortable than true concern, and suddenly I was awash with aching emotion for this bizarre-looking old man.
I had walked with God long enough to see the handwriting on the wall. I've learned that when I begin to feel what God feels, something so contrary to my natural feelings, something dramatic is bound to happen. And it may be embarrassing.
I immediately began to resist because I could feel God working on my spirit and I started arguing with God in my mind. "Oh, no, God, please, no." I looked up at the ceiling as if I could stare straight through it into heaven and said, "Don't make me witness to this man. Not right here and now. Please. I'll do anything. Put me on the same plane, but don't make me get up here and witness to this man in front of this gawking audience. Please, Lord!"
There I sat in the blue vinyl chair begging His Highness, "Please don't make me witness to this man. Not now. I'll do it on the plane." Then I heard it... "I don't want you to witness to him. I want you to brush his hair." The words were so clear, my heart leapt into my throat, and my thoughts spun like a top. Do I witness to the man or brush his hair?
No-brainer. I looked straight back up at the ceiling and said, "God, as I live and breathe, I want you to know I am ready to witness to this man. I'm on this Lord. I'm your girl! You've never seen a woman witness to a man faster in your life. What difference does it make if his hair is a mess if he is not redeemed? I am going to witness to this man."
Again as clearly as I've ever heard an audible word, God seemed to write this statement across the wall of my mind. "That is not what I said, Beth. I don't want you to witness to him. I want you to go brush his hair."
I looked up at God and quipped, "I don't have a hairbrush. It's in my suitcase on the plane. How am I supposed to brush his hair without a hairbrush?" God was so insistent that I almost involuntarily began to walk toward him as these thoughts came to me from God's word: "I will thoroughly furnish you unto all good works." (2 Timothy 3:17)
I stumbled over to the wheelchair thinking I could use one myself. Even as I retell this story, my pulse quickens and I feel those same butterflies. I knelt down in front of the man and asked as demurely as possible, "Sir, may I have the pleasure of brushing your hair?"
He looked back at me and said, "What did you say?"
May I have the pleasure of brushing your hair?"
To which he responded in volume ten, "Little lady, if you expect me to hear you, you're going to have to talk louder than that."
At this point, I took a deep breath and blurted out, "SIR, MAY I HAVE THE PLEASURE OF BRUSHING YOUR HAIR?"
At which point every eye in the place darted right at me. I was the only thing in the room looking more peculiar than old Mr. Longlocks. Face crimson and forehead breaking out in a sweat, I watched him look up at me with absolute shock on his face, and say, "If you really want to." Are you kidding? Of course I didn't want to. But God didn't seem interested in my personal preference right about then. He pressed on my heart until I could utter the words, "Yes, sir, I would be pleased. But I have one little problem. I don't have a hairbrush."
"I have one in my bag," he responded.
I went around to the back of that wheelchair, and I got on my hands and knees and unzipped the stranger's old carry-on, hardly believing what I was doing. I stood up and started brushing the old man's hair. It was perfectly clean, but it was tangled and matted. I don't do many things well, but must admit I've had notable experience untangling knotted hair mothering two little girls. Like I'd done with either Amanda or Melissa in such a condition, I began brushing at the very bottom of the strands, remembering to take my time not to pull.
A miraculous thing happened to me as I started brushing that old man's hair. Everybody else in the room disappeared. There was no one alive for those moments except that old man and me. I brushed and I brushed and I brushed until every tangle was out of that hair. I know this sounds so strange, but I've never felt that kind of love for another soul in my entire life. I believe with all my heart, I - for that few minutes - felt a portion of the very love of God. That He had overtaken my heart for a little while like someone renting a room and making
Himself at home for a short while. The emotions were so strong and so pure that I knew they had to be God's. His hair was finally as soft and smooth as an infant's.
I slipped the brush back in the bag and went around the chair to face him. I got back down on my knees, put my hands on his knees and said, "Sir, do you know my Jesus?"
He said, "Yes, I do." Well, that figures, I thought.
He explained, "I've known Him since I married my bride. She wouldn't marry me until I got to know the Savior." He said, "You see, the problem is, I haven't seen my bride in months. I've had open-heart surgery, and she's been too ill to come see me. I was sitting here thinking to myself, what a mess I must be for my bride."
Only God knows how often He allows us to be part of a divine moment when we're completely unaware of the significance. This, on the other hand, was one of those rare encounters when I knew God had intervened in details only He could have known. It was a God moment, and I'll never forget it. Our time came to board, and we were not on the same plane.
I was deeply ashamed of how I'd acted earlier and would have been so proud to have accompanied him on that aircraft.
I still had a few minutes, and as I gathered my things to board, the airline hostess returned from the corridor, tears streaming down her cheeks. She said, "That old man's sitting on the plane, sobbing. Why did you do that? What made you do that?"
I said, "Do you know Jesus? He can be the bossiest thing!"
And we got to share.
I learned something about God that day. He knows if you're exhausted, you're hungry, you're serving in the wrong place or it is time to move on but you feel too responsible to budge. He knows if you're hurting or feeling rejected. He knows if you're sick or drowning under a wave of temptation. Or He knows if you just need your hair brushed. He sees you as an individual. Tell Him your need!
I got on my own flight, sobs choking my throat, wondering how many opportunities just like that one had I missed along the way. . . all because I didn't want people to think I was strange. God didn't send me to that old man. He sent that old man to me.
John 1:14 "The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth."
Life shouldn't be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather, to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly shouting, "Wow! What a ride! Thank You, Lord!"
Monday, January 14, 2008
Saturday, January 12, 2008
By the time the Lord made women, he was into his sixth day of working overtime. An Angel appeared and said, "Why are you spending so much time on this one?" And the Lord answered and said, "Have you seen the spec sheet on her? She has to be completely washable, but not plastic, have 200 movable parts, all replaceable, run on black coffee and leftovers, have a lap that can hold three children at one time, have a kiss that can cure anything from a scraped knee to a broken heart, and have six pairs of hands."
The Angel was astounded at the requirements for this one. "Six pairs of hands! No Way!" "And that's just on the standard model?" the Angel asked. The Angel tried to stop the Lord. "This is too much work for one day. Wait until tomorrow to finish. "But I can't!" the Lord protested, "I am so close to finishing this creation that is so close to my own heart. She already heals herself when she is sick AND can work 18 hr days.
The Angel moved closer and touched the woman, "but you have made her so soft, Lord." "She is soft," the Lord agreed, "but I have also made Her tough. You have no idea what she can endure or accomplish." "Will she be able to think?" asked the Angel. The Lord replied, "Not only will she be able to think, she will be able to reason, and negotiate."
The Angel then noticed something and reached out and touched the woman's cheek. "Oops, it looks like you have a leak with this model. I told you that you were trying to put too much into this one." "That's not a leak," the Lord objected, "that's a tear!" "What's the tear for?" the Angel asked. The Lord said, "The tear is her way of expressing her joy, her sorrow, her pain, her disappointment, her loneliness, her grief, and her pride." The Angel was impressed. "You are a genius, Lord. You thought of everything, for women are truly amazing."
Women have strengths that amaze men. They carry hardships, they carry burdens but they hold happiness, love and joy. They smile when they want to scream. They sing when they want to cry. They cry when they are happy and laugh when they are nervous. They fight for what they believe in. They stand up for injustice. They don't take "no" for an answer when they believe there is a better solution. They go without so their family can have. They go to the doctor with a frightened friend. They love unconditionally. They cry when their children excel and cheer when their friends get awards. They are happy when they hear about a birth or a new marriage. Their hearts break when a friend dies. They have sorrow at the loss of a family member, yet they are strong when they think there is no strength left. They know that a hug and a kiss can heal a broken heart.
Women come in all sizes, in all colors and shapes. They'll drive, fly, walk, run or e-mail you to show how much they care about you. The heart of a woman is what makes the world spin! They bring joy and hope. They give compassion and ideals. They give moral support to their family and friends. Women have a lot to say and a lot to give.
Thursday, January 10, 2008
Who is Esther?
Named Hadassah at birth, she was later given the name Esther. She was a Persian Jew who lived in the fifth century BC during a massive exile of Jews from the Holy Land. It was a time when people kept quiet about their religion, especially if they were Jewish. Esther is the woman in the Bible whose name is mentioned more times than any other woman... 56 times in all. (Even more than Sarah, who was only mentioned 54 times). Her life is full of courage, risk, bravery, and much faith in God. Twice she risked death to save her people, even though she could have kept quiet to save her hide. Esther was Mordecai's cousin, and had been adopted by Mordecai. (2:15)
Main sections of the Book of Esther are:
- Esther becomes Queen and replaces Queen Vashti
- Haman plots to destroy all the Jews
- Esther and Mordecau pray to God for divine assistance
- God answers Esther and Mordecai's prayers
- The tables are turned
Esther is a Book that could be its own full study... giving it just one week hardly seems right. But I hope that it will inspire you to go and read the entire book on your own and learn more about Esther, and her Godly character.
Esther ch 1
Setting the stage...
King Xerxes ruled over 127 provinces from India to Cush. In his 3rd year he gave a banquet for all his nobles and officials. It lasted 180 days. After that, he gave a smaller party that lasted 7 days. It was very rich, and every man was allowed to drink as much as he wanted. At the same time Queen Vashti was giving a banquet for the women in the royal palace on King Xerxes. After 7 days of drinking, Xerxes asked Vashti to come wearing her royal crown to show her off. She refused. He was mad. Xerxes asked his consultants what to do, they advised banishment so other women in the Land wouldn't follow her ways and disobey their husbands. They advised that Vashti should never enter the King's presence again and that another woman should gain her royal position.
Now, the actions towards Vashti seems so harsh... she didn't want to go show off to the drunken king and his drunken friends. I don't blame her! But by her refusing, it opened the door for Esther and the job she had to do.....
Enter Esther -
Read Esther 2 - each person read 5-6 verses.
Read Judith Couchman's introduction. pg - 17
1. Verse one of this chapter claims that Xerxes "remembered Vashti... and what he had decreed about her." What might this indicate about the king's thoughts regarding his treatment of Vashti?
- maybe he missed her? had regrets after he became sober.... his anger was cooled....
2. In verses 10-18 we learn more about Esther. Do you think her beauty was the only asset that caused people to favour her?
- she won favour of everyone... she had inner beauty, God's strength shows through in our character... our moral standards are revealed through our personality and speech. Maybe she was meek... she didn't ask for anything except what the attendant had suggested.
Esther entered the harem unprepared for its pressures, but as the story unfolds she grows in character and usefulness to God. When we step in to his service we can feel inadequate, even baffled. But God uses who we are, where we are, and develops our character as we yield to him.
The king honoured Haman, and Haman wanted all people to bow to him. Mordecai would not, (3:1-4) and therefore Haman started to plot against the Jews. Haman's ancestors, the Amalekites swore enmity against the Jews. God had ordered the Jews to "blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven" (Deut. 25:17-19) but they didn't' follow through on his command. Considering this and other possible factors, what could be Mordecai's motivation for refusing to bow to Haman?
4. What was the edict? vs. 12-15
All the Jews would be wiped out, annihilated... the decree had gone out and was posted in all the towns.
Mordecai learns what had happened, and he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and ashes, and went into the city, wailing loudly and bitterly. Esther's maids and eunuchs came and told her about he, she was distressed. Esther sent one of her attendants to get the whole story from Mordecai.
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 royal position for such a time as this? 4:14
5. Esther heeds the advice of her cousin and then declares a fast before she approaches the king. Why would she do this?
-Only God can work something out to convince the King.
6. What additional qualities has Esther developed that make her a woman God can use?
- Humility, seeking God, trusting God through prayer and fasting
Esther gave a banquet for the 2 of them, and repeated her request the following night. Later in ch. 5 Haman was enraged that Mordecai continued to refuse to bow to him, so his wife suggested Haman have gallows built and ask the king to have Mordecai hanged. He had them built.
READ Ch. 6
At the banquet Esther had prepared for the King and Haman, she asked for her life. And for him to spare her people. She said if we had just been sold as slaves I would not have bothered the king... but since we are scheduled for annihilation, I thought I would ask. She revealed that it was Haman and the king was enraged. He had Haman hanged on the very gallows he had built for Mordecai.
Esther received Haman's estate. Mordecai came into the presence of the king because Esther told him he was a relative.
7. How does Esther feel toward her people? She loved them, she was broken at the thought of them being destroyed. She could have saved herself and walked away, but she chose to risk her life twice by going to the king without being summoned.
8. What do these verses say about Esther's character? Loyal, loving, cared for her people.
read vs. 5- 8
The Jews were also given the right to assemble and protect themselves, to destroy the army coming against them. The custom of the day prevents the king from rescinding an order previously given.
The tables were turned, and Mordecai becomes more prominent and powerful in the palace.
After that, the Jews celebrated. Mordecai declared that an annual celebration on those days each year. These days were called Purim.
Read ch. 10.
Women of the Bible for Dummies - by Rev. John Rigilio Jr., PhD, ThD, and Rev Kenneth Brighenti, PhD.
Esther - Character Under Pressure - by Patty Pell
Esther - Becoming a Woman God can Use - by Judith Couchman
Esther - NIV and the Message Versions of the Bible
Monday, January 7, 2008
Last night, while I folded laundry on the couch, I turned to CMT... the CMAs were on (Country Music Awards). I listened to Reba and Leanne and even Jamie Foxx (when did HE become country? Anyway, that's another story!)
And then.... Martina sang. She has the voice of an angel, and her heart is there too. She sang a song called "For These Times" and it fits with what we are going to start studying tomorrow with Ladies Bible Study. Tomorrow we look at Esther. Her cousin Mordecai said to her, "And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?" (Esther 4:14) And then later in Esther we really see her heart as she cries before the king, "How can I bear to see disaster fall on my people? How can I bear to see the destruction of my family?" (Esther 8:6)
We live in times right now that need action such as Esther's. Just do it. Get to it... don't wait another minute. But we need the compassion and love for people that can only come from God, because he made each of us and no matter where we've been, or what we've done, he loves us most. Esther could have saved herself by staying quiet, but then her people would have all died. By going to the king, she could have died, but she risked her own life to save her people and God protected her and provided a way to save her people.
Martina McBride - For These Times
In these times in which we live
Where the worst of what we live
Is laid out for all the world on the front page
And the sound of someone's heartbreak
Is a soundbite at the news break
With a close shot of the tears rollin' down their face
Blessed be the child who turns a loving eye
And stops to pray
For these times in which we live
In these most uncertain hours
Where the balance of power
Is a fight that is fought every day
And freedom is a word
Some cry out and some whisper
And some are just too quick to give away
Blessed be the one who stands by the one
On the battle line
For these times in which we live
Well give me a heart full of tender mercy
And arms I will open wide
For these times in which we live
Seems like the only answer is
Givin' up on findin' one at all
And we hide behind unsure
Pull the blinds and lock the doors
And hang a pleasant picture on the wall
Blessed is the believer who knows love is our redeemer
And the only breath of life
For these times in which we live
Well give me a heart full of tender mercy
And arms I will open wide
Yeah give me words full of loving kindness
And hands ready to hold up a light
For these times in which we live
For these times in which we live
Tuesday, January 1, 2008
Starting next Tuesday, Jan. 8th, you are welcome to join us as our "Women of the Bible" gets going. If you are unable to come to the church from 9:30 - 11am each Tuesday for the next 8 weeks, then please follow along here and get involved by leaving your questions or comments.
Blessings for 2008!