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Friday, September 04, 2015

A Night With The King

Esther and the King
Esther and the King (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The story of Esther is one of the most loved of Bible stories. Some may even classify it with the fairy- tale love stories we grew up with. When you read the book of Esther, you will find everything to delight your fiction taste buds: a king falling in love with an ordinary girl, a bad guy trying to stir up trouble and being justly punished, and a happy-ever-after ending to the story. But if you are a Bible reader, you know that behind every story is a much deeper meaning, and Esther is no exception.

Many things stand out for me in this lovely story, but in this post I want to focus on one point in the plot. When King Xerxes decided to choose a queen to replace Vashti, girls were brought in from all over the land to prepare to spend one night with the king. The girls had to go through a whole year of preparation before they could meet with him. After that night, the king would decide who should be his queen.

The story says, "And this is how she would go to the king: Anything she wanted was given her to take with her from the harem to the king's palace" (Esther 2 : 13).  

"When the turn came for Esther (the girl Mordecai had adopted, the daughter of his uncle Abihail) to go to the king, she asked for nothing other than what Hegai, the king's eunuch who was in charge of the harem, suggested. And Esther won the favor of everyone who saw her" (v 15).

"Now the king was attracted to Esther more than to any of the other women, and she won his favor and approval more than any of the other virgins. So he set a royal crown on her head and made her queen instead of Vashti" ( 17).  

Esther did not go out of her way to impress the king. She went through the required preparations, but she asked for nothing other than what Hegai suggested. And yet, the king loved her more than any of the others. The Bible does not tell us if she was more beautiful than the other girls, all it says is that she won the king's favor. In fact, of all the girls, she was probably the least likely to be chosen because she was a Jew. But she kept it a secret as her uncle Mordecai had instructed her.

The word "favor" is mentioned 117 times in the Bible. Psalm 5 : 12 says, "For surely, O LORD, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as with a shield."

When God gives you favor, you don't have to worry about whether others are pleased with you. Esther found favor with the king because God was with her. Later, when the wicked Haman sought to destroy the Jews, God again gave Esther favor with the king and Haman's plan was miffed. Do you have to meet with someone important, or carry out an important assignment? Don't look at what is against you, look at Who is for you. Ask Him to bless you with His favor and see what happens.

Want to read more about Esther and other famous women of the Bible? Click on the image below: 


And here's a video for you to enjoy;


Friday, August 21, 2015

National Senior Citizens Day

If we look at some online calendars, we will see some special days mentioned other than the regular holidays that we are familiar with. I happened to stumble across this one while looking at one of these calendars, and I'm glad I did, for we live in a society where the elderly are not always shown the appreciation and given the care they deserve. We owe a lot to our elderly. Their wrinkles, gray hairs, work-worn hands and frail bodies reflect years of loving, caring and all the hard work they put in to build the solid foundation that we take for granted today.


Look at your own family history and you will recall stories of heroism and courage your ancestors displayed. Take time today to go through your keepsake boxes and family albums with pictures of your parents, grandparents and maybe great-grandparents. Then go a step further -- call or visit at least one of them. Depending on their health status, they may not recognize you, but that's okay. Just your words, your smile, the touch of your hand will bring comfort to that person, and God will bless you for doing it because He cares for the elderly.

He says, "And even to your old age I am he; and even to hoar hairs will I carry you: I have made , and I will bear ; even I will carry , and will deliver you" (Isaiah 46: 4).   

The psalmist prayed, "Cast me not off in the time of old age; forsake me not when my strength faileth" (Psalm 71: 9) . 

In the Bible, not only did care for the elderly, but He used them to carry out His work. Noah was six hundred years when God called him to build the ark. Abraham was a hundred years old when his wife Sarah, ninety, gave birth to their son Isaac. You can read about them here. Anna, an elderly widow, and Simeon waited in the temple until they had seen the baby Messiah and pronounced a blessing on Him. And more can be said of Moses and Caleb and Israel and others. 

So today,  let us show appreciation to our senior citizens. Let us drink from their fountain of wisdom, let us treat them with gentleness and kindness and not abuse them or cast them aside, but cherish them as your Heavenly Father does.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Parental Mistakes

As parents, we all make mistakes. I know I have made more than my fair share, but I know that God
does redeem our mistakes, and I thank Him for that. One of the saddest examples of parental mistakes recorded in the Bible is King David's reaction to the rape of his daughter, Tamar.

In case you are unfamiliar with the story, it goes like this: Ammon, Tamar's half brother was so infatuated with her he could think of nothing else. His friend, noticing his depression, asked him what was the matter. Ammon told him, and his friend came up with a plan. He told Ammon to pretend to be ill and when the king asked him what was wrong, he must say he was ill and could Tamar come over to his quarters and make some cakes for him.

Ammon did as his friend advised, David instructed Tamar to go over and bake the cakes for her brother and, you guessed, he raped her. The Bible goes on to say that Tamar begged Ammon not to send her away because she was now a disgraced woman. However, he now hated her more than he had loved her, and had her thrown out of his house. Read 2 Samuel 13: 1 - 20.

The Bible describes King David's reaction in a very short sentence: "When King David heard all this, he was furious" (v 21). In my Bible next to this verse I wrote, "And he did nothing."

The following verse reads, "Absalom never said a word to Amnon, either good or bad; he hated Amnon because he had disgraced his sister Tamar" (v 22).

David failed to deal with his son's wrongdoing and as a result Absalom (another son) killed Ammon, revolted against David and was later killed. David lost two sons because of his failure to act when his son did wrong.

Maybe David was very busy running the kingdom, but there is no record of him ever confronting Ammon about what he did, or having him apologize to his sister or try to make amends. He simply allowed  Ammon to go his merry way, and suffered the consequences. 

David is not the only father in the Bible who neglected to discipline the sons. Remember Eli, the priest? You can read about him and his sons in 1 Samuel 2: 12 - 26.

 Parents, we must discipline our children in a way that fits their age and their wrongdoing. We can't brush things aside, hoping they would just resolve themselves. This is not the same as what I wrote earlier about leaving our children alone. You can read that post here. This is something that happened under David's roof, and affected two of his children. He should have got involved. 

If we are unsure of how and when to discipline our children, tiny or grown, we can ask God to show us what to do, and He will. 

Sunday, August 09, 2015

He Cares About Everything

Recently, while doing the grandma thing while my daughter and hubby were away, I came across a
snag - literally. As I combed through my granddaughter's abundant hair - and I do mean abundant -  in preparation for church, the rubber band I had put in the day before became tangled. It looked like I wouldn't be able to get it out without tearing some of her hair. I also feared we might be late for church. Then, almost without thinking, I said, "Jesus, help me with this." Instantly, the rubber band came away in my hand. I stared at it in amazement. That was as profound a moment as I've ever experienced in answer to prayer, and it reminded me of something I already knew:

 Jesus cares about everything that concerns us.

After his groundbreaking achievement of separating twins who were joined at the back of the head, Dr. Ben Carson, world-renowned neurosurgeon, wrote of his experience in Gifted Hands. He said that when he attempted the task of separating the blood vessels in the twins' brains, they seemed like a glob of spaghetti. The slightest mistake could result in one or both of the twins bleeding to death. He said he prayed, and it seemed like God's hands took over, separating those blood vessels one by one. The operation was successful. Read my post here.

Not many people in the world are faced with the task of separating blood vessels, but whatever challenge you're facing, know that God is able and willing to help you if you would ask Him. He parted the Red Sea, shut the lions' mouth, rescued the three Hebrew children from the fiery furnace and performed countless other miracles. Those are big things, you say, but He also removed a little rubber band from my granddaughter's hair.  Trust Him.

1 Peter 5: 7 says, "Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

Sunday, August 02, 2015

Don't Leave Your Children Alone!

If you are a follower or regular reader of this blog, you may recognize the above title as being the opposite of one I wrote a couple weeks ago. Here's the post. So, you may be saying, should we leave them alone, or shouldn't we? Well, it depends. If your children are grown and no longer under your roof, you leave them alone.

If they are still under your roof, meaning you are still responsible for them, then don't leave them alone! You care for them, spend time with them, talk to them and listen when they speak to you.

You might say that it's only commonsense that young children be supervised, but all too often we hear of a child losing his/her life because the parents were negligent. In some cases, they were abandoned. Those stories tear at our heart strings and even incur our righteous anger. But that's not all that I'm referring to in this post. There are many children growing up nowadays with little or no parental guidance. They are left to their own devices - they watch whatever they want to watch on TV, wear whatever they choose to wear, and receive little or no instructions about God.

In today's society, parents, Christians as well as non-Christians seem to be in a quandary as to how they should bring up their children. The Bible has a lot to say about the way we ought to bring up our children. Let's look at some of them:

Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.
Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Deuteronomy 11: 18 - 19.


This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live(30: 19)

I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread. They are always generous and lend freely; their children will be blessed. Psalms 37: 25 - 26

A good man leaves an inheritance for his children's children, but a sinner's wealth is stored up for the righteous. Proverbs 13: 22


Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it. (22: 6).
Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you punish him with the rod, he will not die. (23: 13)
The rod of correction imparts wisdom, but a child left to himself disgraces his mother.(29 : 15).

  Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." (Matthew 19 : 14)

'From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise' ?"  (21 : 16)

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Ephesians 6 : 1

 Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. (v 4)  

Parents, don't leave your children alone! 




Saturday, July 25, 2015

Trusting God In Difficult Times

Can you trust God when everything seems to be falling apart in your life? You are trying your best to
serve Him and yet sickness comes, your spouse divorces you, your child rebels, your dog runs away. No, I'm not making light of suffering. Some people really seem to go through some horrendous difficulties in their lives that make us wonder how that person keeps on going.

Joyce Meyer, popular evangelist, author and speaker, tells about being diagnosed with breast cancer. Fortunately, she had surgery and it was successful so she didn't have to go through chemo and radiation. Some years ago, I was diagnosed with cervical precancerous cells. My doctor advised me to have surgery, and I agreed. The strange thing about that whole situation was that I never felt a tinge of fear or worry. Looking back, I still marvel at that, because I am a worrier by nature. I remember my daughter accompanying me to the hospital and all I felt was calm. I knew God was with me.

I think that's the secret to trusting God  in difficult times - knowing that He is with you. Psalm 23: 4 says, "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me." 

But trusting God does not come easily. You have to build a relationship with Him and observe how He operates in your life. We all know the story of Job. He had such a strong relationship with God that when the devil approached God for permission to test Job, God said, "Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?" (Job 1: 8)

God knew that Job was capable of passing the test. And he did! When, through his suffering, Job's wife told him to curse God and die ( Job 2: 9), Job responded, "Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh . What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil" (v 10)?

We may not curse God when trouble comes, but many of us may be tempted to turn our backs on Him. We may think He has abandoned us, but nothing is further from the truth. He has promised never to leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13: 5) and He is faithful to His promises. See my blog post Footprints In The Sand

So, if you are going through difficult times and you don't know Jesus as your Savior, why not invite Him into your life today? Then build a relationship with Him through prayer, Bible reading and fellowship with other Christians, and He will take you through the valley of the shadow of death. 

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Leave Your Children Alone

Man thinking on a train journey.
Many times when I write a post, I'm talking to myself as much as to my audience. I am the mother of four grown children, and I still worry about them at times. Whether I'm with them or not, I worry if they are out late, I worry about their safety, who they are with, are they getting enough rest, and all sorts of things. Sometimes I call them just to assure myself they are all right.

This week I found myself thinking more than usual about one of my sons. You might translate thinking into worrying, and as I thought about calling him, I came across a devotional that talked about letting go of our children. The article stated that when we know we have done the best we could for our children, all we can do is just let go. Only God can protect them. If they are making wrong choices, only the Holy Spirit can speak to them and bring them back on the right path.

Recently, I saw a mother on one of the talk shows who was probably more of a worrier than I am. Her daughter had just started college and this mother was having a difficult time adjusting to her daughter being away from home. She called her several times a day, called all her professors, inquired about her schedules, and was even thinking of moving to be near her daughter. This lady is not alone. I've heard of mothers who not only call their married children to check up on them, but visit them frequently to see if everything is okay.

Parents, there comes a time when we must let our children have their wings. Give them a chance to practice the values that you have instilled in them. They may make mistakes, some of them costly, but if you trained them properly, they will learn from their mistakes and turn themselves around. The father of the prodigal son did not stop his son when he wanted to leave home. He allowed him to go. Later, the boy experienced regret and disillusionment, and decided to return home. And his father was right there waiting to receive him.

That father is God. We, his children, went astray, but God pardoned us and took us back. The Bible says, "Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it" (Proverbs 22: 6). So, parents, once your children reach the age to leave home, entrust them to God's care, pray for them every day, and leave them alone!