Friday, August 23, 2019

Anne Graham Lotz


I am reading her new book for review. She has captured the essence of the Holy Spirit as He pertains to a Christian's walk with God. He is our Counselor, our Teacher, our Leader, our Protector, He is Jesus in us.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Lessons from Haman

Who was Haman? In the Book of Esther, we discover Haman was a descendant of Agag, the king of the Amalekites. He was a chief minister to King Ahasuerus AKA Xerxes, King of the Persian Empire.  Xerxes gave him a seat of honour higher than all the other nobles. Everyone at the king's gate knelt before him, well almost everyone.

I have a few thoughts about Haman, in my opinion, his ego was big and his skin was thin which is many times a deadly combination. I don't know if he was always conceited or wormed his way into his elevated position and became conceited. I've always imagined him as an Eddie Haskell type on steroids type mixed with pure evil. Of course, my thoughts are just thoughts not necessarily true. 


 He was disgusted that Mordecai (Esther's uncle) would not bow to him. He is a favorite of the king, has money, in today's world he would exit a limo and people would be clamoring to take pictures of him. Alas, Mordecai would not honour him. 


Haman became enraged and decided to exterminate Mordecai and his people the Jews not knowing Queen Esther was Jewish. He talked the king into issuing an edict to kill all the Jews throughout the empire. He built gallows in his yard, 75' tall on which to hang Mordecai. 


From a Christian perspective, we see sin in his life just as we have sin in our life, however, the sin took control and grew. A small flame on the tip of a match became a fire devouring everything in its path which is why we need to take sin to the Cross and pray so we don't become consumed by sin destroying everything in our path.


In Esther 6 we read:


And the king said, “Who is in the court?” Now Haman had just entered the outer court of the king's palace to speak to the king about having Mordecai hanged on the gallows that he had prepared for him.  And the king's young men told him, “Haman is there, standing in the court.” And the king said, “Let him come in.”  So Haman came in, and the king said to him, “What should be done to the man whom the king delights to honor?” And Haman said to himself, “Whom would the king delight to honor more than me?”  And Haman said to the king, “For the man whom the king delights to honor,  let royal robes be brought, which the king has worn, and the horse that the king has ridden, and on whose head a royal crown is set.  And let the robes and the horse be handed over to one of the king's most noble officials. Let them dress the man whom the king delights to honor, and let them lead him on the horse through the square of the city, proclaiming before him: ‘Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delights to honor.’” 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.”  So Haman took the robes and the horse, and he dressed Mordecai and led him through the square of the city, proclaiming before him, “Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delights to honor.”


I can't help but think of the verse from Proverbs at this point: Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. I have not built a gallows in my yard, had murderous rage in my heart that I fan into such a fury I want to kill a person or an entire group of people, but I have been haughty, prideful, and angry (not the be angry but sin not type of angry, but hold a grudge type of anger) not to mention a committed a host of other sins too numerous for this post. Haman was humiliated publicly and Mordecai was still alive. His family as much as told him he was ruined:


Then Mordecai returned to the king's gate. But Haman hurried to his house, mourning and with his head covered.  And Haman told his wife Zeresh and all his friends everything that had happened to him. Then his wise men and his wife Zeresh said to him, “If Mordecai, before whom you have begun to fall, is of the Jewish people, you will not overcome him but will surely fall before him.”


In Esther 7, Haman returns to the palace for a private feast with the king and queen. The fall is imminent. 


So the king and Haman went in to feast with Queen Esther. And on the second day, as they were drinking wine after the feast, the king again said to Esther, “What is your wish, Queen Esther? It shall be granted you. And what is your request? Even to the half of my kingdom, it shall be fulfilled.”  Then Queen Esther answered, “If I have found favor in your sight, O king, and if it please the king, let my life be granted me for my wish, and my people for my request.  For we have been sold, I and my people, to be destroyed, to be killed, and to be annihilated. If we had been sold merely as slaves, men and women, I would have been silent, for our affliction is not to be compared with the loss to the king.”  Then King Ahasuerus said to Queen Esther, “Who is he, and where is he, who has dared to do this?” And Esther said, “A foe and enemy! This wicked Haman!” Then Haman was terrified before the king and the queen.  And the king arose in his wrath from the wine-drinking and went into the palace garden, but Haman stayed to beg for his life from Queen Esther, for he saw that harm was determined against him by the king. And the king returned from the palace garden to the place where they were drinking wine, as Haman was falling on the couch where Esther was. And the king said, “Will he even assault the queen in my presence, in my own house?” As the word left the mouth of the king, they covered Haman's face.  Then Harbona, one of the eunuchs in attendance on the king, said, “Moreover, the gallows[b] that Haman has prepared for Mordecai, whose word saved the king, is standing at Haman's house, fifty cubits[c] high.” And the king said, “Hang him on that.” So they hanged Haman on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai. Then the wrath of the king abated.


Haman's words and actions are at odds with the way the Lord wants us to live our lives serving Him walking in love, forgiveness, and dying to self. When we choose to live for ourselves, we become distant from the Lord and our hearts harden as we extinguish the Holy Spirit in us. 


Let's not be Hamans, let's be women who seek and serve the Lord.



Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Favor

Have you ever done a favor for someone that drags on and becomes time-consuming, complicated, and downright inconvenient?

If the answer is yes, what is the condition of your heart as the simple act requested by a friend or family member turns into something you did not envision?

I find myself in that situation as I type. My heart condition began with positivity, sure I can do this for you. Happy to help. Then...I noticed as I invested more time than anticipated, 1st hours then days, resentment started to creep into the picture. Now a thought passes through my mind I should have __________________________. Fill in your own blank. Yesterday I rolled my eyes as I realized I was 2 1/2 weeks into it.

So what were my motives when I said yes to the request? Were they pure or did I feel obligated to say yes for future harmony? If the answer is pure, did I think the favor should take an hour or two and then I was done with it? If I answered yes for future harmony was I resentful at the beginning and decided an hour or 2 was generous enough?

I can say at this point, repentance is required of me. The person asking the favor is not in error, I am. I am not doing the favor so I can pat myself on the back and think myself fabulous, I am assisting someone who needs it.

It is not about me, it is about loving people and being Christ's hands and feet here on Earth.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Gifts from God

Most of this week, before noon the temperatures have been well over 90 and by noon 100 or more. Not unusual for southeast Texas, but certainly disliked...by me!

Shortly before 9:00 a.m. I went outside to water potted plants and hanging baskets.  I was not wearing my glasses or contacts so I could not see well, I will say everything was beautiful in a Monet way. As I watered I thanked the Lord for this day and a few other things. I turned around to say goodbye to my husband as he left for work when a large butterfly appeared and stayed near me, it was large enough I could see it clearly. I thanked the Lord for the butterfly and then a cool breeze blew over me. Unexpected to say the least It made a hot humid morning much more pleasant. I thanked Him for the breeze too. The breeze stopped as I turned off the water and coiled the hose. Just a butterfly and breeze or gifts from God? I think they were gifts from God.


Saturday, July 27, 2019

Spree Free House

To the best of my knowledge, there is not a Spree left in our house. Hopefully, Wayne will send more next June for my birthday.

We've had a 2-day break from the summer heat, a cool front moved through a couple of days ago and lowered the temperature and humidity, 89 for a high at the end of July is as unexpected as it is wonderful. It was so pleasant, I sat in a lawn chair watching butterflies flit around the yard. Except for yard work I generally avoid the outdoors at this time of year unless I am on a mountaintop in Colorado. 

I began thinking about what else I've avoided the last couple of weeks. The list includes but is not limited to:

Unpleasant People

Finishing the job of selling/donating all my parents' belongings. 

Gathering clothes at my house to donate. (Pride tells me at least I boxed up miscellaneous kitchen items, but procrastination is procrastination and a pat on the back is the last thing I need.)

God - many days I've given Him the leftovers of my time, emotions, and love. Instead of first He has been in last place some days.  I don't know why. I know in His mercy when I ask for forgiveness with a sincere heart, He forgives me. His love is unconditional and perfect. He alone can give us solace in a time of trauma or sadness. I should avoid everything until I've spent time with Him each day. 

If you feel stalled or stuck, remember these words from the Gospel of John:


Jesus said, "I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.  My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand.  I and the Father are one.”

He holds us in His hand. We need to seek Him and keep our focus on Him. We must turn away from distractions the world throws our way, be heavenly minded, and pray for forgiveness. Ignoring things or sweeping them under the rug does not free us to pray for others and the world. 

Live today in the freedom we only find in Him.