Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Day 22 Esther

Are you aware of your purpose?  Do you even know you have one?  Did you know God has a plan for you? Jeremiah 1:5 says, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you.” Ecclesiastes 3:1 states, “There is a time for everything, a season for every activity under heaven.” In the book of Esther 4:14, her cousin Mordecai writes to her and proclaims, “And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this.”
Christian, you are NOT here by some random chance.  You are reading this by leading of the Holy Spirit to remind and encourage you, my sister in Christ, that you are loved.  You are a precious gift of God, daughter of the Most High and redeemed by the blood of the Lamb.  You are important and vital to the Kingdom of God.  He knows your name, formed you in the womb and has a task for you.  Do you want it? Do you want to live the life God has for you?  Then listen to Esther’s story and pray to the Father of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, “I want you and the life you have planned for me!”
According to the Bible, Hadassah (Esther) was an orphan (Esther 2:7).  During her young years, both parents had died and her cousin Mordecai had graciously taken care of her.  A chapter of this book is devoted to orphans, those whose parents have died.  God has not forgotten you and He did not forget Esther.  She had lovely form and features, and was taken to the King’s harem in what seems like unfair circumstances.  Some would ask the question, “God, this poor girl, isn’t it enough!” But God, in his infinite wisdom, had a plan. 
Before we move further, let’s review the situation in which Esther was taken into the king’s palace. King Xerxes was celebrating.  He was celebrating himself.  This display of self worth went on for 180 days, showcasing the vast wealth of the kingdom and the splendor and glory of the king’s majesty.  When the days were over, the king yet continued his celebration of himself with a banquet lasting seven days.  With all the princes, nobles, officials and military leaders this room full of prideful, powerful, and famous men of the kingdom must have star struck many except Queen Vashti. The king’s wife, Queen Vashti, held her own banquet for the wives of these men and maybe had grown tired of 187 days of entertaining.  Maybe she was bored with the gluttonous drinking, eating and apparently did not like being a trophy wife, put on display for a bunch of drunken men to approve and ogle her.  In a bold display of either blatant disrespect, pridefulness or she had had enough of the nonsense, did not submit to her king’s demands.  Well, the King Xerxes’ fury commanded she never be brought into his presence again! 
How could the king and these men allow women to demonstrate such disrespect? Well, the king wasted no time in writing a decree that all women MUST show respect to their husbands and proclaimed this decree to all the women from the least to the greatest (Esther 1).  Sister, the bible does instruct wives to respect their husbands, but it also says that husbands love your wives as Christ loved the church.  Respect is earned not by demands and decrees, but by a man willing to love his wife, care and protect her through all things.  In a woman’s heart of hearts, I believe she longs for a man she can respect and love.  So my prayer is any husband or man reading this remember the Apostle Paul’s words, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.  In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. Each of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” (Ephesians 5)
As the saga continues, the king is looking for a new wife.  All the young women are taken into the king’s harem for a year of beauty treatments.  Herbs and oils, cosmetics and jewelry, a spa day for the women of Esther’s time! The Bible does not say Mordecai objected, but he himself a wise man, may have seen the special purpose for this intrusive, gentile brute force of taking women against their will!
 While in the harem, Esther found favor with Hegai, who had charge of the harem.  Immediately he provided her with treatments and special food.  Hegai assigned to her seven maids selected from the king’s palace and moved her and her maids into the best place in the harem.  Esther had God’s favor.  The favor written in the book of Numbers 6:24-26, “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.” When God is for you, who can be against you!
Not only did Esther find favor with Hegai, but the king favored her as well.  This arrogant, prideful, pompous king fell in love with a young, Jewish orphan who would prove to be a wonderful wife and queen to all people.  But……there is always one who can cause a stir.  Usually one who manipulates, causes strives and is determined to glorify himself.  This man was named Haman.  Haman was a royal official who had also gained the favor of the king, but hated Mordecai. As a Jewish man, Mordecai would bow before no one but the living God.  Haman expected everyone to bow in his presence and demanded all revere him in awe!  This is no different than in today’s society.  There are people whom have the means to selfishly demand the best at the expense of belittling the “small person”.  This arrogant display of narcissism can grow tiresome and quickly!  Haram would soon wear out his welcome.
 Haram, by manipulation, ordered all Jewish persons be killed and exterminated due to Mordecai’s selfless act of devotion to God.  Getting word to Esther, Mordecai writes, “Do not think that because you in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape.  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.” Esther replies, “Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me.  Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day.  I and my maids will fast as you do.  When this is done, I will go to the King, even though it is against the law.  And if I perish, I perish!” (Esther 4:12-16).  These powerful words from a young woman who loved her people would be written down to be celebrated to this day.
Queen Esther was selflessly rising to the occasion in which she was destined for.  God had stirred this woman’s heart for preparation, strength, determination and the willingness to die for her own people.  The Apostle Paul writes you can hardly find a man willing to die for a good person, let a lone a man die for another without cause. Esther knew if the king did not lift his scepter to receive her, his order could be death.  She was willing to take that chance; she was willing to perish for the God and willing to give her life in a time as this for her people.

 What are you willing to do for God? Are you willing to step outside your comfort zone?  Are you willing to take missions trips to unknown parts and evangelize different cultures? Are you willing to move and plant churches for the Kingdom of God?  What is the plan God has for you?  Are you praying and seeking His guidance and counsel, biblically searching for Truth and worshiping our Savior? What is your plan?
Esther does accomplish her plan.  The Jewish people were indeed saved and she is revered even today.  There are two things I would love you to think about.  The first, plan to read the book of Esther and pray how her plan can influence you, pray to God how you can affect, influence and spread His Gospel encouraging the Kingdom to prosper.  The second, Mordecai wrote something that is interesting.  He wrote if Esther did not rise to the occasion, the help God needed to accomplish saving His people would come from somewhere else.  If you choose not to rise to the occasion, God will find someone else. Jesus says in Matthew 22:14, “Many are called, few are chosen.” In the book of Revelation 3:11, Jesus encourages, “I am coming soon.  Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown.” The book of James 1:12 inscribes, “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.” This crown, this faithful life of living for Christ, under trials is rewarding and challenging.  Do not give up.  Do not quit in the midst of battle, but prepare your heart and mind for action (1 Peter 1:13)
My sister, when you are asked about your faith, you can give a seasoned word.  I pray when God gives you the desire to do something for Him, you do it obediently, faithfully and blindly.  God told Abraham to leave His family and He would show him where to go.  The Lord didn’t give him a googled map or GPS to follow. If God tells you to move, then move.  Maybe there is someone He wants you to meet.  If He tells you to pray, then pray.  Maybe your prayer will encourage a new believer not to quick.  If God tells you to teach, then teach with all your heart.  Maybe there is a young woman who does not know how to respect her husband. If you are called to serve, then serve from a willing heart.  Your gentle spirit, may inspire another who is contemplated her own service calling. 
 I pray this has encouraged you and made you think about your own calling and plan from the Lord.  Bring it to the cross, bring it to the High Priest and pray to the Living God for His favor, timing, season and strength to rise to the occasion!

Pray out loud and CONFESS the Word of the Lord:

Thank you for the book of Esther.  Thank you for using such a strong woman to encourage me to rise to the occasion.  I pray to hear your voice clearly and see the plan you have for my life.  I pray for ears to hear and eyes to see the purpose and calling chosen specifically for me.  You’ve formed me in the womb (Jeremiah 1:5).  You have chosen my gifts and talents; help me to use them for diligently for your kingdom. I know many are called for service unto you, but few are chosen (Matthew 22:14) I understand that trials, worries and the pressures of this life allow some to give up, stray away or leave the faith (Luke 8:5-8).  I pray to bear good fruit in accordance to the boundaries in which you have set for me (Luke 6:43-45)
 I pray to make sure the calling on my life, running my race with perseverance, determined to finish strong and receive the crown of life for which I was called to (Hebrews 12:1, Revelation 3:11). May I be a woman who pursues righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness, fighting the good fight of faith to which I was called (1 Timothy 6:11-12). I pray to never hide or be a shamed of the gift received by you, that it never be taken away or given to another (Matthew 25:14-30).  May I go where you send me, to be as faithful as Abraham and Sarah and follow your lead. I pray to follow my shepherd (John 10:1-18) and feed His sheep (John 21:18)
 Lord, may I be a loving wife who respects her husband (Ephesians 5:33) and if I’ve married a man who does not know the Gospel, strengthen my behavior to one of purity and reverence changing him without words (1 Peter 3:1-2). Esther found favor with King Xerxes with her gentle spirit, her love for you and her people.  I pray to be as Esther finding favor with my husband, but more importantly finding favor with you and your kingdom.  I pray for your blessing which will strengthen me to never hide my believe under a basket (Matthew 5:15), to use my gift I’ve received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in it various forms (1 Peter 4:10)
 I pray to be confident in Christ Jesus to finish the good work that He began in me (Philippians 1:6).  I know that no eye as seen, nor hear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him (1 Corinthians 2:9, Isaiah 64:4). I pray to never be concerned with the things of men, but more concerned with the things from above (John 2:25, Colossians 3:1-2). May I be a woman who would rather please you than those whom are around me (Galatians 1:10).
 I thank you Jesus for dying on the cross, I thank you for your unfailing love that will never leave me, nor forsake me.  I give you my heart, my all in worship and praise.  May I be a servant that stands before, who rose to the occasion in which I was called and hear those precious words, “Well done good and faithful servant!”  In the name of Jesus of Nazareth I pray, Amen!

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