Esther

Trapped


Esther 5:1-10:3

“Whom would the king wish to honor more than me?” Esther 6:6

Have you ever just wanted to freeze a single moment in time and stay there, just a little bit longer than all the rest? If Haman had known what was coming up next in his own story I think this is the moment he would have chosen to freeze. In his mind at this point, he is the one that the king is preparing to honor and so he’s suggesting to the king how he himself should be glorified. You know, because who would the king wish to honor more than Haman? At this point in the story Haman hasn’t fully considered who exactly he’s dealing with, and he won’t fully come into that realization until it is far too late for him to back out of the trap he has set and it ends up springing on him.

And boy if that doesn’t remind me of Satan I don’t know what does! Satan sets traps all day every day and yet over and over they only end up springing on him in the end. Just look at the Son of David. From day one Satan was out to trap Jesus. From Herod trying to convince the wise men to come back and tell him where the child king was so that he too could “worship” him. To that night at the Last Supper when Judas fled from the room to meet up with the Jewish officials in order to capture Jesus away from the crowds. Mmmm, but that’s my favorite trap of all! That was the trap that Satan set fully expecting it to end Jesus and the Father’s plans for saving the Jews. I don’t think Satan had any clue what his actions would do. Unlike God, Satan is not omnipotent or omnipresent. He can’t know the future before it happens, nor can he be in all places at all times. I believe that he truly had no clue to the breadth of God’s actual plan for Jesus and His death on the cross. Satan set a plan into motion that He will regret for all of eternity.

Satan set a trap to kill Jesus, and he succeeded, but little did he know that his success was his ultimate undoing. It was through Jesus’ death that the rest of us can LIVE. It is through the blood that Jesus shed on that cross that we are eternally forgiven. It is because He died that He was given the opportunity to rise again from that sealed grave and to prove to one and all once and for all that He was, is and will always be Christ the Messiah! Satan sets traps every day. And while *some* go off and capture us in their teeth; ALL of them are his ultimate undoing! Every. Single. One of them.

Right now there is something that you’re feeling trapped in; a dead-end job, a financial situation you can’t seem to climb up out of, a marriage that just feels miserable, a child that has broken your heart with a rotten decision, whatever it is – give it to God. That trap may have sprung on you, but it doesn’t have to be YOUR undoing, make it Satan’s!!! Take that mess he’s made of your life and allow God to turn it into a message! I’ve made so many bad choices in my life; choices that affected me for a very long time and still do to this day. But that doesn’t mean that they have to be my prison. What if they are my key?!? And they can be if I let them. I can take those bad choices and decide that I’m not going to let them define me. Just because I burn one tray of toast doesn’t make me a bad cook. Just because I misspell a word doesn’t make me a bad writer. Just because I stumble doesn’t make me a bad dancer. It just means that something happened. And I can choose to allow that thing to drag me down or wake me up. Learning to walk isn’t about falling down, it’s about learning how to control those falls and more importantly how to get back up.

Sunflowers have a special place in my heart, mostly because once upon a time I had the privilege of meeting a very special one who taught me a very important lesson. Bloom where you’re planted – no matter what.

This sunflower was growing at the end of my neighbor’s driveway from a seed that he had spit out. As in this seed had been:

Harvested,

Seasoned,

Roasted,

Packaged,

Purchased,

Chewed up,

Spit out,

Still managed to SPROUT,

IN A DROUGHT,

Avoided being mown off,

And grew into a beautiful little sunflower right where it had been planted.

It had literally been through sunflower seed hell AND BACK and STILL managed to grow and bloom right where God had planted it. In a spot He knew I wouldn’t be able to miss it, or its story. 😉

You too may be feeling like you’re going through hell and perhaps even back, but I have Good News for you. Jesus died for YOU. Jesus loves you more than life itself and He would rather die than to live one more day without YOU by His side for all of eternity. No matter what you’re going through, no matter how trapped you feel right now, know this. Jesus loves YOU. He loves you and He is with you, no matter what. He has promised never to leave you or forsake you and He isn’t able to lie so He must have meant it when He said it. No matter what you’ve done, He will NEVER leave you. And really, believe it or not, there is nothing new under the sun that you could have done that He hasn’t seen before. I can guarantee it. On the cross Jesus made the choice to forgive you once and for all. Now you need to make the choice to forgive yourself.

Categories: 365 Life, Esther, Season 3 | 3 Comments

The Ring of Power


Esther 1:1-4:17

“The king agreed, confirming his decision by removing his signet ring from his finger and giving it to Haman, son of Hammedatha the Agagite the enemy of the Jews.” Esther 3:10

Over the last several weeks I have been training to be a manager at Dollar General. It started simply enough, I was allowed to watch the other managers perform the managerial tasks. I got to peek into their world and see what it was that they were doing. Next they started punching their numbers into the computer and then stepping aside to let me do the returns and exchanges while they stood directly behind me to guide me through the process. Then they started handing me their numbers written on slips of paper so that I could put their numbers into the computer myself and begin performing the tasks on my own. But then came the day when the store manager came to me and handed me his register key. I placed it on the top of the register, not feeling quite worthy to actually put his key into my pocket. He had just handed me his numbers and his key, as far as the system knew every time I used those things in the computers I was him. It was a big day.

In today’s reading the king has handed Haman his signet ring. Much like my Store Manager handing me his numbers and key, the king was handing Haman the power to sign onto the computer as the king. Anything Haman did, said, or wrote down and then sealed with that signet ring was backed by the full power of the king – as if the king had done it himself. Today I want to gaze at the inscription on that ring a little more. I want to dig a little deeper into the meaning of the ring itself and what that means to us as Children of God.

There is another instance in the Old Testament of a signet ring being passed on to someone; we can find it in Genesis chapter forty-one. Joseph has been through a very long and difficult journey, from his childhood home, to slavery in an Egyptian officials home to being a prisoner in Pharaoh’s jail. Then one day Pharaoh has a troublesome dream and Joseph is the only one in the kingdom who is able to interpret it. Pharaoh is so grateful to him for his wisdom and assistance that he “said to Joseph, ‘Since God has revealed the meaning of the dreams to you, clearly no one else is as intelligent or wise as you are. You will be in charge of my court, and all my people will take orders from you. Only I, sitting on my throne will have a rank higher than yours.’ Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘I hereby put you in charge of the entire land of Egypt.’ Then Pharaoh removed his signet ring from his hand and placed it on Joseph’s finger. He dressed him in fine linen clothing and hung a gold chain around his neck. Then he had Joseph ride in the chariot reserved for his second-in-command. And wherever Joseph went, the command was shouted, ‘Kneel down!’ So Pharaoh put Joseph in charge of all Egypt. And Pharaoh said to him, ‘I am Pharaoh, but no one will lift a hand or foot in the entire land of Egypt without your approval.'” (Genesis 41:37-44)

There is another story of a king bestowing absolute power upon a man of great worth,

“The the eleven disciples left for Galilee, going to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw Him, they worshiped Him – but some of them doubted! Jesus came and told his disciples. ‘I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.'” (Matthew 28:16-20

Acts 7:55 says that “Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed steadily into heaven and saw the glory of God, and he saw Jesus standing in the place of honor at God’s right hand.”

Luke in chapter four of his book, tells us about a small portion of the power of Jesus’ authority:

“Once when He was in the synagogue, a man possessed by a demon – an evil spirit – began shouting at Jesus. “Go away! Why are you interfering with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are – the Holy One sent from God!’

Jesus cut him short, ‘Be quiet! Come out of the man,’ He ordered. At that, the demon threw the man to the floor as the crowd watched; then it came out of him without hurting him further. Amazed, the people exclaimed, ‘What authority and power this man’s words possess! Even evil spirits obey Him, and they flee at His command!'” (verses 31-36)

The King’s authority is powerful indeed! In Luke chapter ten, Jesus chose seventy-two of His disciples and sent them ahead of Him in pairs to all the towns and places He planned to visit. He told them,

“‘Anyone who accepts your message is also accepting Me and anyone who rejects you is rejecting Me. And anyone who rejects me is rejecting God, who sent Me.’ When the seventy-two disciples returned, they joyfully reported to Him, ‘Lord, even the demons obey us when we use your name!’

‘Yes,’ He told them, ‘I saw Satan fall from heaven like lightning! Look, I have given you authority over all the power of the enemy, and you can walk among snakes and scorpions and crush them .Nothing will injure you. But don’t rejoice because evil spirit obey you; rejoice because your names are registered in heaven.'”

There is another story of a signet ring in the New Testament, it can be found in Luke chapter fifteen. It’s the story of a son who completely humiliated his father by basically telling him that he wished his father was dead so that he could have his inheritance now rather than later. So this loving father divided his estate between his two sons and then watched his youngest son walk away from his home and his entire family. It broke the father’s heart. After much time had passed the son ran out of money and found himself starving, working on a pig farm, contemplating eating the pig’s food. He decided that even the servants in his father’s house were taken better care of than this! So he decided to humble himself before his father and return home in the hopes that perhaps his father would accept him back into his home as a servant. He had no hope of becoming his son again, he had rejected that right the day he asked for his inheritance early. As the son trudged down the road, head hung in utter shame, he heard the sound of rapidly approaching feet and looked up to see his father hurtling himself through the space between them. His SON had come home!!! As the son began his rehearsed speech asking for his father’s blessing to work in his home as a servant, the father cut him short, “Quick!” he said to the servants, “Bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him Get a ring for his finger and sandals for his feet. And kill the calf we have been fattening. We must celebrate with a feast, for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found.’

In that time, servants didn’t wear robes, they wore rags. They didn’t wear the finest sandals money could buy, they went bare footed about their chores. And they certainly didn’t wear a ring with the family symbol on it! My friend, each and every one of us is that son! We’ve all walked away from our Father at least once in our lives, if not over and over and over again. And yet each and every time we humble ourselves enough to pray, He hurtles Himself through space and time to embrace us with a longing that only He could possess for us. Through the blood of Jesus, YOU have been given all authority over the powers of darkness, YOU! You wear that signet ring of power on your finger because you are a member of the family, you’re a Child of the One True King!!!!! In Jesus’ name! Hallelujah!

 

* I apologize; I have not had time to edit this! Please forgive my typos or grammar mistakes if there are any!!!!!

Categories: 365 Life, Esther, Season 3 | Leave a comment

God’s Timing is Perfect


Esther 5:1-10:3

“Then the king said to Haman, ‘Hurry, take the robes and the horse as you have said, and do so to Mordecai the Jew, who sits at the king’s gate. Leave out nothing that you have mentioned.'” Esther 6:10

The story of Esther is one that I absolutely adore. For lots of reasons, but one of the main ones is because it was the very first Bible Study I ever led. (Beth Moore’s Esther) Making the decision to follow that tug at my heartstrings and step up to the leadership position was HARD. I’d never led a Bible Study before. I didn’t know what I was talking about. What in the world qualified me to lead the study? Nothing. This was precisely why God wanted me to lead it. Because He knew that I wouldn’t be leaning on my own understanding I would be leaning on His. And I did.

Now here I stand, about five years later and I’ve taken another step (LEAP) of faith by accepting yet another leadership position that I feel terribly under qualified for; the Women’s Ministries Director position at my church.

I am quite likely the youngest adult woman at our church, yet I’ve been chosen to lead them. This intimidates me greatly! But if God has led me faithfully thus far then who am I to think that He won’t continue to do so? He helped me lead that first Esther Bible study and He will help me lead this Women’s ministry too. He is faithful, of that I have no doubt.

In today’s reading we find the evil Haman plotting to kill Mordecai, he’s all ready to strike when WHAM! He’s the one that takes the hit. It’s awesome how it all works out. The timing in this story is absolutely impeccable. I mean here we have Haman walking into the king’s court prepared to ask for Mordecai’s head on a platter and instead walks out completely humiliated. He went into the king’s chambers and is asked what he thinks should happen to someone in whom the king delights to honor. So of COURSE he thinks of himself, because you know, that’s the kind of man Haman is after all. Plus he did have that nice cozy dinner with the king and queen just yesterday.

So he comes up with this brilliant plan for “the man in whom the king delights to honor” to be given the kings very own robe to wear and his very own horse to ride and then be paraded through town with one of the king’s high officials leading him and heralding him as “the man in whom the king delights to honor”. All the time, Haman’s picturing himself in the royal robes on the royal horse being paraded around town. So it is particularly sweet when the king announces that it will all be for Mordecai, Haman’s arch nemesis. You can practically see Haman’s teeth clenching and his blood boiling in anger and hatred as he carries out the king’s orders to clothe and honor Mordecai.

Everyone in town knows how much Haman hates Mordecai, the ONE person in the entire town who refused to bow to him, is now the ONE person he is leading around on horseback and proclaiming at the top of his lungs, “Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delights to honor!” The poetry of that moment can not be lost on any reader of this story.

Yet we can’t forget the reason for which Mordecai was being honored. He had saved the kings life months and months before this moment. And it was only because the king had had a sleepless night and had pulled out the royal records to hopefully help his slumber when the king discovered a royal mistake! This man Mordecai had saved his life and had never been honored for it! How dare the king miss such a critical thing, it must be remedied immediately. But how? Not only did he need to honor and thank Mordecai, but it also had to be EXTRA special because it had been a delayed reaction. He needed help coming up with the perfect way to honor such a patient and understanding man, but who could help him? Who could aid the king in coming up with such a special ceremony? Oh! Of course! His right hand man Haman could! And look he just happened to be the only person in the court waiting to see the king early that morning! What terrific “coincidence”!

You know, there are plenty of ways to say it, “what goes around comes around”, “You reap what you sow”, but in the end it’s all the same. It’s GOD. His timing is perfect, every time.

While Mordecai may have been a bit insulted about the delay in gratitude from the king, we don’t know it never says. He certainly didn’t mind the way in which he was being honored now. Not to mention when he later found out that Haman had gone in to see the king in order to ask for his head, well, I’m sure that irony wasn’t missed on anyone that day!

I don’t know what it is that you’ve been waiting for. But I know that God is good, and He loves you, and He wouldn’t be delaying if it wasn’t in your best interest to do so. I mean, look at how well timed Mordecai’s repayment was. Yes, whatever blessing it is that’s still hanging out there waiting to fall from heaven, be confident that that blessing will fall and it will come with such a force and beauty that it will blow you away.

God has a plan for you, a plan for your future hope, and it’s perfect. Trust Him. He knows what He’s doing, even when we don’t understand it.

Categories: 365 Life, Esther, Writing Through the Bible in a Year | 1 Comment

Celebrate!

 

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Esther 1:1-4:17
“And for the people present in Susa the citadel, both great and small, a feast lasting seven days in the court of the garden of the king’s palace.” Esther 1:5

Today is a day of celebrating! Yesterday was Derby Day.

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My husband Sean has loved and run in demolition derbies since I’ve been with him (around 15 years).

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But yesterday marked a new beginning. The beginning of a dream being realized. While it’s my job to disciple the followers of this blog, it’s my husband’s job to go out there in his 7×70 car and draw attention himself in order to draw attention to God. (Which he does a FABULOUS job of doing.) This draws people to our table where we have free Bibles with stickers on them letting the recipients know about the blog. What better way to simultaneously disciple hundreds of people all over the world?
I am so happy to share with you that SEVENTEEN Bibles were given out last night. That’s a new record for us! Seventeen souls welcomed the Word of God into their lives!
But then on top of that, at the end of the derby the promoter came up to Sean with a trophy and a check for being the “Intimidator”. Which means that he was the most intimidating driver of the whole derby! It’s a huge honor. While every class has a first place winner only one person gets this prize.
So to say the least we were on cloud nine night! SEVENTEEN Bibles AND the Intimidator!
But then we came home and put the kids to bed and just before we hit the hay ourselves Sean checked Facebook. There was a picture on there that was so priceless I could hardly believe my eyes. (I’m working on making that picture available to you but I’m not sure I’ll be able to.) It was 4 children sitting on the ground having a Bible study with their new Bibles! The grins on their faces are from ear to ear. Well except for the little boy in the group who looks like he may have gotten dragged into it. 😉

In this last year of handing out Bibles I’ve noticed something. Is the children that very the most excited about the Bibles. While some adults may like the fact that we’re doing it, the children are the ones that desire the Bibles themselves. They ALL want one, even if they already have one at home.
This is what I was pondering this morning when God gave me a verse:
“Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” (Mark 10:15)
These children see a Bible and instinctively know what it’s about. They know and they desire it. No, they may not fully understand all the words in that Bible, but they don’t care either. They know that book is about Jesus and that’s all they care about. I think there is much wisdom in these children. And I pray God bless them greatly for their willingness to trust.
May we all be more like them!

“Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.” (Luke 15:7)

On a side note we are OUT OF BIBLES! We are planning on going to another derby this coming Saturday in Lafayette Indiana. So any donations you could contribute &/or prayers you could send our way we would GREATLY appreciate! Also, if you’re in the area we would really like for you to stop by and say hi! 😀

Categories: 365 Life, Esther, Writing Through the Bible in a Year | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Remain in Him

Today’s Reading: Esther 9:1Exodus 2:25


It’s funny; normally I never play video games on my own. Occasionally I will play them with the kids, but even then it’s seldom that I cease my constant motion long enough to sit let alone play a video game. We had made plans earlier in the week to go swimming at our friend’s house and I’ve been looking forward to it all week! No parties to plan, no house to clean, no homework to do, nothing but sun and wet giggles filling my senses. Last night I even dreamed about swimming in the pool and playing with the kids, if that tells you how much I’ve been looking forward to this time off. Then this morning when I got up I realized that it was a day off, so I wasn’t even going to write today either… but then I sat down and played the video game and had to share with you what God had been showing me this morning1

At this point in our life my husband and I are being faced with many decisions. We’re felling the nudging of the Holy Spirit to the changes that are coming… but what will they be? Which way do we need to move? How do we make these decisions? Are there even decisions to be made? This morning, just like many of the mornings lately, as my husband and I embraced to pray at the front door on his way out to work, I could feel his tension mounting. I could sense his hesitancy to leave. Work has not been a pleasant place for him to be lately. Not that there’s anything unusually “bad” happening there, it’s just time for a change. So as I held him close breathing in his scent and savoring this intimate moment I opened my mouth and prayed “Lord, please show us the w….” and then I laughed. “Yes Lord, YOU are the way. Thank You for such a tremendous reassurance. You are the Way, and we are following You. Lord we trust You completely. Thank You.”

There’s nothing like an instantly answered prayer, where Jesus stops you in mid-sentence with the TRUTH. He is the way. He is not only the way to the Father; He is the Way to everything in life. Every decision, every path in life, every question in life can be answered with one name – JESUS! And what a precious name it is isn’t it! J

In playing Super Mario Brothers this morning with my son he achieved something impressive. He reached 99 lives. He had read online that when you reach 99 lives “something weird” would happen. So all morning, before I joined in on the fun and was just watching, he worked and worked to get up to 99. And he would get so upset when he would lose a life in the attempt to gain one. And I would look at him and say “Honey. You have NINETY EIGHT LIVES! I think you’ll be OK.” Because in the game, when you get down to zero lives the game ends. And so I kept pointing out to him “Honey, there’s no way you’re going to die, you’ve got NINETY EIGHT LIVES!”

So often we look at life upside down. We look at this life as it’s all we’ve got… but it’s not! Yes, it’s the only mortal earthly life that we have and we shouldn’t treat it with contempt, however it’s not the end. We have NINETY EIGHT LIVES! Well, really when you think about it, it’s more like infinity than ninety eight, but still, you get my point right? We’ve got to look at this life from the point of eternity, not the here and now. We have to feel free to take risks and “fail” in order to learn something. Because no matter how many times we “fail” it doesn’t really matter because we have more “lives” to live after the failure. We get to keep playing the game. We may have to start the level over again, but that’s OK, because every time we start the level over again we learn something else that we didn’t know the first time. We get an opportunity to play the level better than we did at first.

There are times in life when words slip out of our mouths that may hurt someone else. There’s no way to pull those words back in and swallow them down as if we never said them, but that’s no reason to bemoan the opportunity that we’ve just been given to learn! Every time we are faced with what seems like a huge life changing decision to make, a leap of faith if you will, what’s the harm in leaping? So what if we don’t make it to the other side we were leaping to, there’s always another life, another chance to leap again and perhaps make it to the other side this time. However, I’ve learned something about leaps of faith; generally they’re not nearly as much of a leap as a short step into the dark onto solid rock. One of our kids’ favorite movies is Monster’s vs Aliens. In this movie the main character Susan is being chased by a giant alien robot and she’s on the top of a roof and sliding down seemingly to her death. She gets to the edge of the roof and is hanging on by her fingernails when her grip lets loose and she falls… about two inches. She had forgotten that she was fifty feet tall – the same size as the building! God doesn’t let us fall when we leap into His waiting hands, it just may feel like that sometimes because that’s what we’re expecting to happen. We aren’t realizing that the leap is really just another step in our walk together with Him.

In today’s reading in Esther we finish the story of the Jews in their plight against Haman the horrible. We read about how the Jews were able to fight back and well… we always know how that goes don’t we. “No one could stand against them”. God had their backs the whole time. It didn’t seem like it in the beginning because things looked so dark and hopeless but He was there. And in the end, no one could stand against them.

God’s got our backs.

No one can stand against us.

God is with us, and if God is for us then who can be against us, right?

God bless you my friends, live in His truth today. He is the way, go in it and no one can stand against you1


Categories: Esther, Exodus | Leave a comment

Such a Time as This

Today’s Reading: Esther 4:1-8:17

Ok, I promise you that I did not plan this ahead of time, the cliff hanger in the story and all. But I know who did plan it and He is so awesome to have done it this way! Today we get to all the really great parts of the story of Esther! Here her people are, slated for complete and total annihilation and everyone powerless to stop the flow of events except Esther. And there’s her surrogate father to remind her of that very fact. Esther, who knows but that you have come to such royal position for such a time as this? I think in all of history there are few phrases that live in infamy as much as “Who knows?” and “for such a time as this”. Oh, how many times in my life have those phrases echoed through the caverns of my soul filling them with possibilities. “Who knows, maybe I have bigger plans for you than you thought I did…” “Who knows, maybe I really can be ‘that good’…” or “Maybe I placed you in this uncomfortable situation for such a time as this…”.

Life is filled with uncomfortable situations, it just is, we can hem and haw about where those situations come from and why they’re there until we’re blue in the face from running around in circles chasing our tails but in the end all that really matters is the fact that life gives us uncomfortable situations and it’s up to us as to how we’re going to deal with those situations. It’s all in how we think about them and see them. Take our pre-empted plans the other day, that was certainly an uncomfortable situation, or at least it would have been if I hadn’t been having so much fun! Honestly, I was so excited about the adventure and the prospect of what God was going to do with this situation that I hardly cared about that fact that we were stuck on the side of the road! I should probably add here that part of me knew that we weren’t going to make it all the way to our pre-determined destination, but my brain wasn’t in on that information.

After we had met six-month pregnant police officer Michelle and the two State troopers, the mechanic showed up followed directly by the tow-truck driver, Petie. Now Petie was a fun fellow, beautiful are the feet that bring good news and his feet were pretty beautiful! While they didn’t bring the news of being able to fix poor Tammy’s new-to-her car (she’s only had it a month) he was the one who was fully capable of taking us to the ones who could! And THAT was good news! So we three girls, minus Tammy’s daughter who was taken on to school by the red-headed Michelle, were aided into his tall tow truck cab with a gentlemanly hand. I sat in the middle next to Petie on a florescent yellow roadside assistance jacket covering a milk crate with my daughter on my lap, while Tammy sat in the bucket seat by the window. As the gentleman walked back around to his side of the cab after helping us ladies up Tammy and I quickly prayed that God would bless him and his vehicle and everyone that rode in it after us. When we were on the way to the “car farm” (the four-year-old’s name for a car dealership) Tammy asked Petie “is there anything that we can pray for you?” And that just opened up a whole new can of worms! It just so happens that Petie the gentleman is a Christian too! For the entire 20 minute ride we three adults swapped God stories and scriptures and that Petie, I tell ya, that man spoke with such conviction that I by the time I stepped back out of his truck, again aided by his arm, I felt like I had been in the presence of Jesus! God hadn’t just sent us any old tow truck driver, He’s sent us His son of light! For the rest of my life I will never forget Michelle or Petie, they were such tremendous “God sends” that day, little touches from heaven sent in the form of two beautiful children of light simply doing their jobs. But to Tammy and I they meant the world to us!

That is such a powerful message to me. The by simply doing our God-given jobs, police officer, tow truck driver, teacher, mail man, blogger, mom, we have the opportunity to become someone else’s angel right there on the side of the road. Michelle the police officer had an obligation to stop because she’s a police officer, but she did not have the obligation to stand there by the side of the road and talk to us and make friendly for an entire hour! She could have sat in her car the entire time and listened to the radio! But she didn’t. Petie didn’t have to help us up into the cab of his truck like a gentleman, he could have let us stumble in all on our own, but he didn’t. He didn’t have to carry on a twenty minute conversation about God with us while he was driving, he could have remain stone silent and we never would have known that we all are kin. And who knows, maybe they were having bad days too until we showed up on the scene! Honestly, it’s hard to be in a bad mood when Tammy and I are around, we’re filled with the oil of gladness most of the time and we’ll bring it out in you too when given the chance. But none of that would have ever happened if we all had simply kept our mouths shut. If we had focused on the problem instead of focusing on the solution that God was unfolding right before our eyes.

To me that’s what is so beautiful about the story of Esther. While God isn’t mentioned once in the entire story you can so plainly see His hand at work through the entire thing! So many times in the story you can see His perfect timing at work, from the first feast Esther throws for the king and Haman with the evening in between to allow both men to ponder on what it is that Queen Esther is wanting. The King so curious he can’t even sleep so he gets out “the book” and reads and remembers about Mordecai and realizing that he has forgotten to honor the man who saved his life…. WOAH!

He has forgotten to honor the Man who saved his life… If that isn’t a significant sentence I don’t know what is!

Have I forgotten to honor the Man who saved my life? Does my life honor Jesus? Does the way I go through my day honor His sacrifice?

That day, Michelle and Petie honored Jesus, they honored him before they ever told us that they were Christians. They honored Him before they ever said His name. They honored Him in their smiles, in their peace-filled demeanors, and in the fulfillment of their jobs. Sure they get paid to stop and help people in their time of need, but they don’t get a paycheck for being nice while they do it. And who knows that you weren’t put in your own position for none other than such a time as this…




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Pre-empted Plans

Today’s Reading: Esther 1:1-3:15

I have to tell you that the story of Esther is by far one of my favorites. There are so many things that are significant within its pages, the complete absence of any reference to even the name of God, yet the tell tale signs of His Almighty presence in the salvation of His people. It’s just an amazing story. To me, the pinnacle moment within the story is when… oh no! We haven’t gotten there yet! I can’t ruin it for you! Sigh… OK, well, I guess I’ll just have to save that message for some other day.

I guess, instead, I’ll tell you a story that I’ve been holding onto. It’s a story about my prayer partner Tammy attempting to take me to this little café that she found downtown. They have a lot of outreaches there and she wants to take me there to meet the owner so that we might be able to make some connections between our ministries. So Tammy and I had made plans to drive down there together. I would put my son on the bus, jump into Tammy’s car with my daughter and then drop Tammy’s daughter off at school before heading over to the café. Well, it’s about an hour long drive downtown from where we live so we had some time in the car to talk and what not. During a brief lull in our conversation I checked my daily devotional app on my phone. I thought it was a good one and decided to share it with the car. I read about how God gives us double blessings for our troubles. Now, you know I tell the truth, so when I say I had just finished reading the devotional when “it” happened; you have to understand that I mean I had no more than said the last word in the devotional about double blessings for our troubles when the car started steaming. Yup! Honest to goodness. So even though the car had just been in the shop less than a week before to get the oil changed and everything under the hood checked, the sweet smell of coolant came pouring out in its gaseous form to tickle my nostrils with the characteristic smell of a water pump issue. Now of course we were on no less than the biggest interstate in Indiana at the time that this happened, so we pulled over to the side of the road in the hopes that the engine might cool off enough to get us the rest of the way to our desired destination for the day. We may have waited all of a minute before striking out once more, if nothing else than to get off the interstate to a much smaller and less dangerous spot to be on the side of the road. We managed to get to the necessary off-ramp before the car wouldn’t go any further and stopped on its own. Tammy put the poor ole girl in park and called the school, “Yup, we’re on the side of the road, she’s going to be late.” Next she called the lady at the café, “Ummmm, we don’t know when we’ll be there; we’re on the side of the road.” “YOUR ON THE SIDE OF THE ROAD! What happened???” And as the story poured out, the lady at the café said those wonderful words “Well, let me pray for you!” So together, we four girls in the car and the one on speaker phone bowed our heads in prayer over the situation asking that God’s will would be done and that His angels of protection would surround us throughout this ordeal. The lady had no more than finished praying when the black unmarked police car with a beautiful red head in the driver’s seat pulled up behind us, lights flashing – God’s sign to me that help is on the way… or HERE in this case!

Michelle the police officer strolled up to our car, all six months of her pregnancy in full view and glory, she truly did glow – at least for us she did anyway, but maybe that was because she was the beginning of the answer to our prayers! For the next hour Tammy and I talked to Michelle about her pregnancy and our own pregnancies, a very common denominator among women, while we waited for the state’s version of Triple A to show up. I think it was about the second or third time that Michelle went back to her car to check on the progress of the mechanic that Tammy and I realized that we had twenty copies of my latest book “The Pink Polka dot Kitty” in her trunk and both decided that she needed a free signed copy! It is dedicated to moms after all and she was about to become one! I had just given her the copy when the light flashing State Police car pulled up. The gun-toting officers stepped out to see what all the fuss was about and took a gander under the hood propped open to cool. The female state officer took control of the situation and told Michelle to call a tow rather than the mechanic that must have been on the other side of town when he got the call. So she called in for the tow truck assistance and the State troopers left to investigate a van that had “caught her eye”.

The troopers had been gone only a few minutes when not one roadside assistance vehicle pulled up, but TWO at the exact same time (the mechanic and the tow truck driver)! In our time of trouble we didn’t get one police car, we got two; we didn’t get one roadside assistance vehicle, we got two!

Our trouble had been an object lesson that God was teaching us, and has become one of my FAVORITE stories to tell lately. God doesn’t just tell us He will bless us, He DOES bless us. He doesn’t just bless us once; He blesses us over and over and over again. In this world we will have trouble, it’s just a fact. BUT, we don’t need to fear that trouble, because we can overcome those troubles. And we can rejoice in them because we know that God will not only bless us in those troubles, but He will doubly bless us for them as well. One of my favorite sayings while in adversity is “God doesn’t let stuff like this happen to me for nothing.” As a daughter of the Almighty King of Heaven and Earth I have such a tremendous and impenetrable hedge of protection around me that there is NO WAY that the Enemy can get through it… unless there is a purpose. And I have the faith and assurance that that purpose is for my good and not my harm. That it is for the good of not just me, but for everyone that I ever have contact with. That everything that I experience in this life is shaping and molding me to be the woman God wants me to be. So when my regularly scheduled day gets pre-empted with something unexpected I have the assurance of knowing that God is doing something in my life that is important and I can rejoice in the silver lining of the rain cloud hovering over me at the moment because I know that the sun WILL come out tomorrow and it will bring with it such tremendous blessings that I have never known before. Yes, life has troubles, but Jesus has overcome each and every one of them and through Him so can we.

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