Posted by: Esther | April 30, 2014

Will David’s Flesh Reign?

After being persecuted and hunted to the point of despair, David’s enemy, King Saul, is finally dead. Singing and rejoicing should be heard throughout David’s camp in Ziklag, yet as we read in 2 Samuel chapter 1, we see a completely different reaction by the one after God’s heart. In this account, David is told of Saul’s death by an Amalekite who claimed to have killed Saul himself. This Amalekite brings these tidings of what he believes may be good cheer, along with King Saul’s crown and bracelet.

Anyone else, in this moment, would have taken the crown, and set himself up as king over Israel as the Lord’s anointed, as he was.

True, this is how any flesh driven man would react, so it is interesting that an Amalekite would be the one to the bring this news to David. Throughout the Old Testament, the Amalekites have been a picture of our flesh, our sin nature. The Amalekites are descendants of Esau, Jacob’s twin brother.

Genesis 36:12 (NKJV)  Now Timna was the concubine of Eliphaz, Esau’s son, and she bore Amalek to Eliphaz. These were the sons of Adah, Esau’s wife.

Remember that Esau was so driven by his flesh that he sold his birthright for a bowl of soup.

Gen 25:29-34 (NKJV) Now Jacob cooked a stew; and Esau came in from the field, and he was weary. And Esau said to Jacob, “Please feed me with that same red stew, for I am weary.” Therefore his name was called Edom. But Jacob said, “Sell me your birthright as of this day.” And Esau said, “Look, I am about to die; so what is this birthright to me?” Then Jacob said, “Swear to me as of this day.” So he swore to him, and sold his birthright to Jacob. And Jacob gave Esau bread and stew of lentils; then he ate and drank, arose, and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright.

God warns us in the New Testament that if we live by our flesh, we will die.

Romans 8:13 (ESV) For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

Rom 8:6 (NKJV) For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

He explains that our flesh is hostile toward God and that we must put to death all of its desires.

Romans 8:7 (ESV) For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot.

Colossians 3:1-10 (ESV) If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.

In the Old Testament, it was a command from God to the Israelites to utterly destroy all of the Amalekites.

Deuteronomy 25:17-19 (NKJV) Remember what Amalek did unto thee by the way, when ye were come forth out of Egypt;  How he met thee by the way, and smote the hindmost of thee, even all that were feeble behind thee, when thou wast faint and weary; and he feared not God.Therefore it shall be, when the LORD thy God hath given thee rest from all thine enemies round about, in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance to possess it, that thou shalt blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven; thou shalt not forget it.

This was God’s task for Saul; his final test of obedience to God. God commanded him to utterly destroy all of the Amalekites.

1 Samuel 15:3 (NKJV) Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.

But Saul failed. Saul was more interested in serving his own pride than God’s righteousness, so he kept the king alive for a trophy, along with some choice cattle and livestock.

It is a man from these very same people who comes to test David. Will David decide that it is finally time for him to do things his own way? Will he believe that the Lord has given him this opportunity to set himself up as king? Will he begin his reign  in his own flesh?

Certainly David will not fail this time, after passing so many tests in the wilderness. The Bible tells us of at least two times David could have taken Saul’s life, and many more times when God protected David from Saul’s wrath.

This time will prove to be no different. The first response by David and his men are not that of rejoicing, but of mourning for Saul, Jonathan, and for the house of Israel. What a Godly influence David has had on his men who were previously quick to want to kill the King for David’s sake. It seems that David was hanging out with God, just like Peter and John.

Act 4:13 (NKJV) Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus.

Jhn 13:35 (NKJV) “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

David does not just mourn while letting the flesh live to fester and tempt again, but he does as the Lord commands, and puts it to death.

2Sa 1:15 (NKJV) Then David called one of the young men and said, “Go near, and execute him!” And he struck him so that he died. 

Gal 5:24 (NKJV) And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

Then David pronounces judgement upon this man.

2Sa 1:16 (NKJV) So David said to him, “Your blood is on your own head, for your own mouth has testified against you, saying, ‘I have killed the LORD’s anointed.’ “

Our own mouth also testifies against us.

Job 15:6 (NKJV) Your own mouth condemns you, and not I; Yes, your own lips testify against you.

Proverbs 6:2 (NKJV) You are snared by the words of your mouth; You are taken by the words of your mouth.

Luke 19:22 (NKJV) “And he said to him, ‘Out of your own mouth I will judge you, you wicked servant. You knew that I was an austere man, collecting what I did not deposit and reaping what I did not sow.

Mat 15:18 (NKJV) “But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man.

Matthew 27:25 (NKJV) And all the people answered and said, “His blood be on us and on our children.”

Or we may use our mouth to testify of the Lord…

Rom 10:9-10 (NKJV) that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

Because…

Rom 5:8-10 (NKJV) But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.

We read in Chapter 2 that David does just that. He does not set himself up to reign in the flesh as Saul did, but he kills the flesh with its desires and seeks God.

2Sa 2:1 (NKJV) It happened after this that David inquired of the LORD, saying…

 

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Posted by: Esther | March 27, 2014

Wisdom Leads to Salvation

This blog was inspired by, and derived from, Jon Courson’s sermon on 1 Samuel 25.

Abigail is a beautiful and wise woman married to a very wealthy fool known as Nabal.  During the time that this wonderful picture of salvation takes place, David has been hiding from his hunter and the king of Israel, Saul. He has camped himself in Nabal’s backyard, and while there, he and his 600 men have been protecting Nabal’s shepherds from harm. While Nabal is shearing his sheep, David sends 10 young men to ask Nabal for any provisions that he may have to offer, in reward of this protection.

Nabal, being the fool that he is, answers with a sarcastic, “Who is this David? Who is this son of Jesse?” Well everyone knows who David is. You would have to be living under a rock to not know. There are folktales about him. He has saved Israel from the Philistines countless times, including the most famous slaying of Goliath, but Nabal seems to think he is above all of that and refuses to let any of his hard earned riches get into the hands of this “David.”

When David hears Nabal’s reply, he immediately commands his men to gird their swords and head out to avenge his name. “WOOO David! What happened to the self controlled, faithful character that was convicted for just cutting the corner of Saul’s robe? This fool really got under your skin.”

Perhaps it was Nabal’s pure audacity that ticked off David the most. At least Saul is acting on a more understandable jealousy towards David, but this character has no reason to disrespect David at all. Nabal is richer than David, and probably has a more beautiful wife. David shows no intention of taking possession of Nabal’s precious riches and he is certainly not anointed to take over reign of the “kingdom of Nabal.” “Throw him some breadcrumbs at least, you fool!”

 

But this is a picture of our own salvation. We are Abigail and we have been given pearls of wisdom.

Matthew 13:45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, 46 “who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.

Proverbs 2:6 For the LORD gives wisdom; From His mouth [come] knowledge and understanding;

 

Yet, like Abigail, we are also yoked with a fool, our own flesh, the old man, our sinful nature.

Romans 6:6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with [Him], that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.

Ephesians 4:22 that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts,

 

But because of this fool who, like Nabal, mocks the very existence of David and his Son’s eternal reign, we are doomed. And just as the messenger comes to warn Abigail of her impending doom, we also have been warned.

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin [is] death, but the gift of God [is] eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 2:6-8 God “will repay each person according to what they have done.”
To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger.

 

Upon becoming aware of her fate, this wise woman loads up her donkeys with enough food for an army, sends her servants to intercept David with this abundant gift and sets out to change what would have been a series of unfortunate events for all involved.

At this point David is feeding his own flesh by grumbling to himself about what this good for nothing fool really deserves and what he will ultimately get, so help him God!

With wrath set out toward her, Abigail sees it, quickly gets off her donkey, and bows low, falling on her face, before the one from whom this wrath exudes.

Romans 14:11 For it is written: “[As] I live, says the LORD, Every knee shall bow to Me, And every tongue shall confess to God.”

Ephesians 3:14 For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,

 

Then, Abigail doesn’t just do as I would and blame all her woes on her foolish husband, but instead, she confesses her own sins in the matter and places all of the blame on herself. She admits that she knows that her husband is a fool; therefore, she should have been keeping a closer watch on the goings on among their acres. She should have seen David’s men protecting the fields and offered provisions, so that the men would have not had to ask, or she should have seen the young men David sent and intercepted the message before being made a fool of.

1 John 1:8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us [our] sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

 

Next in Abby’s monologue, she asks forgiveness of her sins.

1 Samuel 25:28a”Please forgive the trespass of your maidservant. For the LORD will certainly make for my lord an enduring house, because my lord fights the battles of the LORD, and evil is not found in you throughout your days.

Matthew 6:12 And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors.

 

Furthermore, Abby appeals to David’s goodness, as we are to acknowledge the Goodness of the Son of David.

Psalm 31:19 Oh, how great [is] Your goodness, Which You have laid up for those who fear You, [Which] You have prepared for those who trust in You In the presence of the sons of men!

Psalm 23:6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the LORD Forever.

 

Finally, this wise woman believes in the promises to come.

2 Sam 7:12 “When your days are fulfilled and you rest with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 “He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.

Jer 23:5 “Behold, [the] days are coming,” says the LORD, “That I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness; A King shall reign and prosper, And execute judgment and righteousness in the earth. 6 In His days Judah will be saved, And Israel will dwell safely; Now this [is] His name by which He will be called: THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.

Dan 2:44 “And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.

 

Abigail ends her dissertation with one final request, which is that David remembers her when all the promises of God come to pass, just as the thief on the cross asks Jesus to remember him when he enters heaven.

1 Sam 25:31b But when the LORD has dealt well with my lord, then remember your maidservant.”

Luke 23:42 Then he said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.”

 

Both are accepted.

1 Sam 25:35 So David received from her hand what she had brought him, and said to her, “Go up in peace to your house. See, I have heeded your voice and respected your person.”

 Luke 23:43 And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.

 

And so we too will be accepted into Paradise, if we, like Abigail, bow our knee to the Son of David, our Reedeemer, confess our sins, ask for forgiveness, proclaim his Goodness, and believe in His promises.

Proverbs 9:10 “The fear of the LORD [is] the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One [is] understanding.

 

But Abigail’s story is not over, and neither is ours.

Abigail’s husband falls into a comma, as a stone, after hearing the wisdom of his wife, and the Lord strikes the fool dead after 10 days. The Word tells us that if we belong to Jesus Christ, the Son of David, our flesh, that foolish old man, is crucified, dead.

Gal 5:24 Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.

 

David hears of Nabal’s death, praises the Lord, and sends messengers to bring Abigail to him as his wife, even before he is king, just as we will be taken up to our Bridegroom for the wedding feast, even before His earthly reign.

1 Th 4:14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. 15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.

 Eph 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, 26 so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. 28 So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; 29 for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, 30 because we are members of His body. 31 FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND SHALL BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH. 32 This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church.

If you believe, walk in the spirit.

If you are still in the flesh and headed toward death, follow these steps of wisdom, shown to us in the life of Abigail, and live.

 

 

 

 

Posted by: Esther | February 27, 2014

David’s Lies

Beginning in 1 Samuel chapter 20, David flees in fear of Saul who clearly wants him dead. Through this chapter and the next, as a result of this fear, we see David resort to lying. David’s first lie takes place through his best friend Jonathan, Saul’s son. David tells Jonathan to lie to his father and say that he was not able to attend the New Moon Feast because of family obligation. This works in David’s eyes, because he and Jonathan find out the truth about Saul’s intentions and David is able to escape with his life. Because of David’s success from the first lie, maybe his second lie was easier to tell, as sin does get easier with practice, but this time David lies to a priest, and this lie ends in absolute tragedy.

When David enters the town of Nob, he tells the priest Ahimelech, who is obviously shaken up by his presence, that he is on a secret mission for King Saul. Perhaps David was thinking that if the priest believes that he is still working for the king, he will honor his wishes, and he does, but if the priest knew that he was running from Saul, maybe he would not cooperate and even give David over to Saul, which we know would be the right thing.

Yet in David’s sinful state, we see the presence of Jesus.

1 Sam 21:6 So the priest gave him holy bread; for there was no bread there but the showbread which had been taken from before the LORD, in order to put hot bread in its place on the day when it was taken away.

John 6:35 And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst. …

Here David. You will need this bread to sustain you. I care more about your well being then these ceremonial laws. My love will cover all. Take and eat. Remember the mercy I give with my life.

We also see the presence of His word as a sword.

1 Sam 21:9 So the priest said, “The sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom you killed in the Valley of Elah, there it is, wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod. If you will take that, take it. For there is no other except that one here.” And David said, “There is none like it; give it to me.”

Ephesians 6:17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God;

David, remember the faith I gave you to strike a giant with just a sling and a stone. Remember what you did with this sword after I had killed your enemy. You chopped off his head. You decimated his flesh. David, your flesh is carrying you away now. Remember my words, keep my commandments and let this sword be a reminder for you to seek after my heart with the love you had for me then, for my sword is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of your heart.

Each of David’s lies hurt someone he loved. His first lie caused his best friend Jonathan to have to fight in the cursed army of his father Saul and ultimately see him to his doom in his final battle against the Philistines. His second lie caused the death of the faithful priests and their families, and his third lie caused the death of a valiant warrior in the army of God, as well as his own infant son and continual strife and heartbreak for 20 years later.

Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

This love was demonstrated through Ahimelec in chapter 21 when he gives provision of bread and a sword, ultimately giving up his own life for David’s sin. Ahimelec the priest, in contrast to the Pharisees in the time of Jesus, shows God’s heart for His people.

Matt 12:7b ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice…

The priest is a picture of Jesus, showing mercy and grace by providing bread and a sword to David, even though he is lying. And in the same way Jesus dies for our sins, Ahimelec the priest, along with his entire family, died because of David’s sin  (and yes the sins of Saul and Doeg too).

Romans 5:18 But the free gift is not like the offense. For if by the one man’s offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many.

Yet while living in the madness of these lies, David’s heart is still after God. He writes Psalm 34 and 56, calling for God’s help and praising Him for His deliverance.

God has covered our sins with the blood of His Son. May our hearts ever praise Him!

Posted by: Esther | February 1, 2014

David’s Armor

We all know the story of David and Goliath. We read it as a source of encouragement. It inspires us to stand in the Lord’s strength against those gigantic obstacles, but there are some images in this story that are worthy of further dissection. My pastor’s sermon on this chapter peeked my interest, and so I dug further into it. He rather briefly explained David’s armor as a picture of the armor of God in stark contrast to Saul’s armor, a picture of the world. I took it home to interpret further.

Saul’s armor is made of the same metal as Goliath’s armor: brass, aka copper and tin or bronze (depending on the commentator). According to Easton’s Bible Dictionary, brass or bronze is a symbol of insensibility, and obstinacy in sin.

[Isa 48:4 NLT] For I know how stubborn and obstinate you are. Your necks are as unbending as iron. Your heads are as hard as bronze.

[Jer 6:28 NLT] They are the worst kind of rebel, full of slander. They are as hard as bronze and iron, and they lead others into corruption.

Since Goliath wears this bronze armor and taunts the army of the living God, we can see him as a picture of Satan coming against that which he hates. He is clothed in rebellion, full of slander, hardheaded, as hard as his bronze helmet, and since the Holy Spirit has left the king of Israel, Goliath is able to terrify them.

Saul’s constant pride and rebellion to the God who anointed him, with power, to be king, has rendered him also a slave to sin. He is a picture of Romans 1:28-32:

Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, and no mercy. Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.

To further prove that Saul’s armor represents the same rebellious nature as Goliath’s, Ezekiel 22:18 states “Son of man, the people of Israel are the worthless slag that remains after silver is smelted. They are the dross that is left over–a useless mixture of copper, tin, iron, and lead.” Copper and tin make bronze.

Like Satan and all of the Philistines, Saul defies God and believes that his way is better than the One who created him and made him king. Saul put on Satan’s clothes, and then tried to get David to wear it.

[1Sa 17:38-39 NKJV] So Saul clothed David with his armor, and he put a bronze helmet on his head; he also clothed him with a coat of mail. David fastened his sword to his armor and tried to walk, for he had not tested them. And David said to Saul, “I cannot walk with these, for I have not tested them.” So David took them off.

David does not walk in sin. David has been anointed with the Spirit of God. He saves sheep from the mouths of lions and the paws of bears, and he gives glory to God for his strength and courage.

As a shepherd, David is used to fighting off beasts with just his staff, bag and sling. These are the items he had with him and the only ones he needs. It would be silly for a shepherd boy to tend the sheep with a bronze helmet, a heavy coat of mail, and a sword. Those are the things that soldiers of the world hide in, but this shepherd boy has a more powerful armor: the Armor of God.

[1Cr 1:27 NKJV] But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty;

The following is a breakdown of David’s arsenal:

1 Sam 17:40a Then he [David] took his staff in his hand…

Mic 6:9 The voice of the LORD cries to the city—and it is sound wisdom to fear your name: “Hear of the rod and of him who appointed it!

1Cr 4:21 What do you prefer? Shall I come to you with a rod of discipline, or shall I come in love and with a gentle spirit?

This rod of discipline is the same word used for a shepherd’s staff.

b) and he chose for himself five smooth stones from the brook,

But it only takes one. [Rom 5:18-20 NLT] Yes, Adam’s one sin brings condemnation for everyone, but Christ’s one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone. Because one person disobeyed God, many became sinners. But because one other person obeyed God, many will be made righteous. God’s law was given so that all people could see how sinful they were. But as people sinned more and more, God’s wonderful grace became more abundant.

He doesn’t need all 5, but this speaks to the abundance of God’s grace for us sinners.

[Mat 21:42 NLT] Then Jesus asked them, “Didn’t you ever read this in the Scriptures? ‘The stone that the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone. This is the LORD’s doing, and it is wonderful to see.’

[Psa 18:2 NLT] The LORD is my rock, my fortress, and my savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety.

c) and put them in a shepherd’s bag, in a pouch which he had,

Pro 16:11 Honest weights and scales are the LORD’s; All the weights in the bag are His work, 

d) and his sling was in his hand.

With this sling, the stone the builders rejected, which is Jesus Christ the Word of God, flies through the air and sinks into the head of the giant, Satan, who stumbles and dies falling prostrate to the One who flung it.

Matt 21:44 Anyone who stumbles over that stone will be broken to pieces, and it will crush anyone it falls on.

As foretold in the beginning: Gen 3:15 And I will cause hostility between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring. He will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.” 

The stone, that is Jesus, killed Goliath, that is Satan, but our fleshly sin must still be cut off. This is the reason David cuts off Goliath’s head. It is a symbol of how we are to cut off our flesh, because it causes us to sin. This is bloody and violent, but if we don’t, our sin will cause us to spend eternity in torment.

[Mat 5:30 NLT] And if your hand–even your stronger hand–causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.

[Mar 9:45 NLT] If your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It’s better to enter eternal life with only one foot than to be thrown into hell with two feet.

So David finishes the job by doing what we all need to do on a daily basis: cut off that which causes us to sin with a sword that is the Word of God and be obedient in faith!

Posted by: Esther | January 25, 2014

While We Were Still Sinners

1 Samuel 16:14-23 is a beautiful picture of Christ’s redeeming love as explained in Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

The Holy Spirit has left Saul, and in His place an evil spirit is sent by God to torment him. Saul’s advisors suggest that he finds a skillful musician to play music that will soothe his soul when this evil spirit comes upon him. Saul agrees and tells his servants to find such a man. One of the servants discovers David, and Saul sends for him.

1 Sam 16:19 Therefore Saul sent messengers to Jesse, and said, “Send me your son David, who is with the sheep.”

Jesse is a picture of our heavenly Father. David, a shepherd, is a picture of Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd.

In John 10:11 Jesus says, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.”

Just as our Heavenly Father sends His Son to us sinners, so Jesse will send his son to Saul, the royal sinner.

1 Sam 16:20 And Jesse, as our Heavenly Father, sends his son on a donkey.

John 12:14-15 Then Jesus, when He had found a young donkey, sat on it; as it is written: “Fear not, daughter of Zion; Behold, your King is coming, Sitting on a donkey’s colt.”

 Just as the donkey that Jesse sent to Saul, the donkey entering Jerusalem had loaded on it the bread of life and the wine of the blood for the new covenant, both carried within our perfect sacrificial lamb.

And Jesse took a donkey loaded with breadJesus is our bread of life.

Mark 14:22 And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.”

…a skin of wine… Jesus is the blood of the wine.

Mark 14:22-23Then He took the cup, and when He had given thanks He gave it to them, and they all drank from it. And He said to them, “This is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many.

…and a young goat… Jesus is our sacrificial lamb

1 Peter 1:18-19 knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things…but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.

1 Sam 16:21 So David came to Saul and stood before him. And he loved him greatly, and he became his armorbearer.

Romans 5:8-9 But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation.

Psalm 91:4 He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection.

While Saul was still a sinner, the anointed one stood before him and loved him. While I was still a sinner, the Anointed One covered me with His righteous blood and became my armor bearer. With the Armor of God I resist the devil’s schemes, standing on the promise of salvation. My armorbearer is already victorious, therefore, so am I, and so are you, if you believe.

Posted by: Esther | January 2, 2014

For the Love of Money

[Mat 6:24 NIV] “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.

As faithful Christians, we all know that we will never really have enough. We will always want more. We know that we are not really supposed to pray for “just a little more,” as if there is a magic number that will make us content. It is not in money that we will find contentness, but in the Lord himself. This is all well and good, and in theory we live it, right? I thought I did, but I discovered the truth of my heart during an unassuming test. Here is the story:

For the last 4 years, we have had all that we needed. We were content in our financial standing. We were able to give and save comfortably. We were able to do and buy what we needed, within reason. We weren’t millionaires, but were content and did not have to worry financially.

My husband worked 2 jobs at this time and his soul was becoming weary.  He did his best to keep his family a priority, spending as much time with us as possible, but even then he was torn by the responsibilities his jobs demanded. There was never enough time for it all. My husband was constantly convicted that he should be spending more time with the kids and more time doing more for the church. I was tired of only receiving half of his heart. We both finally agreed that it was time to let the second job go.

While we were making that magical amount of money of which I felt was enough, I thought I had Matthew 6:24 all figured out. I praised and thanked God daily for all that he provided and thought for sure my faith was strong enough to trust him even if He took it all away.

December was our first month without the paycheck from my husband’s second job. This job was about a 1/3 of our monthly income. Everything was blissful at first. I felt my husband really present with us in his whole heart. He was more attentive and available for our needs. He was less stressed too. In the name of Christmas, we decided it was ok to use some savings to make Christmas more like we were used to. This would help us ease into this new reality we would soon have to face. Our Christmas was wonderful and we praised God for lightening our load and giving us more time for Him.

Then the test began. My husband came to me with some newly acquired bills for the sake of investments, which we had previously agreed on. I was watching our savings dwindle away as he invested, and I began to feel guilty about every pleasure I took that cost money. I began to panic and feel completely out of control, and in that split second of irrationality, money became my god. I figuratively took every dollar we had, stuffed it into an indestructible box, locked it up, and hid the key where no one would find it. Then I hid this box in the closet of my heart and crowned myself queen of our financial crisis. I was the only one capable of knowing how to be a good steward of our money. Under my control and great wisdom, my world would be financially sound and free of the careless whims my husband was so good at falling into. As queen, my fits of rage against his carefree response were justified. He claimed, “It will all work out,” but I knew better. It doesn’t just work out on its own. It would only work out if I were in control of the situation.

While I sat insolent on my throne, guarding my god in the box, I tried to ignore the soft knock that seemed to pound on the door of my heart. After-awhile, I could no longer stand it. I cracked the door and peaked my head out.

“Don’t worry Lord, I have this completely under control.”

“Don’t you trust me?” He said as an abundance of mercy and grace streamed through the cracked door until I could no longer hold it closed. The door flung open and my crown fell to the ground as I whispered, “ I do trust you Lord. I praise and thank you all of the time for what you have given us. You have given us so much and I just want to do what is right with it all.”

“Then open the box.”

Trembling, I unlocked the box and opened it.

“Do you trust me?”

“Yes Lord, but he doesn’t have as much self control as I do.”

“Then give me everything in the box.”

At this moment, I remembered all of the times it did work out. I remembered how He brought us up from nothing, living in an 18’ Terry Trailer, to this beautiful house. I remembered how He provided for each child we had, always giving us a bit more in order to provide for each additional mouth to feed. I remembered how He provided well paying jobs for my husband without even a high school diploma. I remembered all of this, so I obediently and humbly put all of the contents, every last dollar in the box, at his feet.

“Do you trust me?”

“Yes Lord.”

“Then know that I will work it all out.”

“Yes Lord, I do.”

And so I have lived Matthew 6:24. I am terrified at how easy it was for me to set up an idol, but I am completely humbled that my Lord did not withhold an ounce of His mercy from me. Even in my deepest sin, He met me there. He loved me there and I am amazed at the amount of peace I now have to enjoy my husband and my children. With money as my god, I was easily condemned and uptight about every cent spent, but now that it is under His control, I can serve Him completely. Only with complete trust in the Lord, will we find true contentness. Praise God for His patience with us!

Posted by: Esther | October 20, 2013

Israel’s First King

During the time of Samuel, Israel was a back slidden nation, yet God was in her midst. God still loved and cared for his rebellious children. Even Samuel’s own children rebelled and did not walk in their father’s ways. The only man God spoke through in the entire nation was Samuel himself. But the people were so steeped in idolatry at this time, that they even demanded a king so that they could be like other nations. After God warns them of the bondage a man king will bring upon them, he grants them their wish and gives them what they desire.

This is the account of the calling of Saul, whose name means desire.  Is this man the desire of God or of man? Does Saul desire the love of God or of man? The answers to these questions begin to be answered in 1 Samuel Chapter 9.

1 Sam 9:2 And he had a choice and handsome son whose name was Saul. There was not a more handsome person than he among the children of Israel. From his shoulders upward he was taller than any of the people.

Saul was the most handsome and tallest man in the entire land of Israel! Interesting that this is the first characteristic that we are told about Saul.

Compare this to when Samuel anoints David king:

1 Samuel 16:7 But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the LORD does not see as man sees for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”

So far it looks as though God is choosing a man that the people desire.

1 Sam 9:3 Now the donkeys of Kish, Saul’s father, were lost. And Kish said to his son Saul, “Please take one of the servants with you, and arise, go and look for the donkeys.”

Saul is told, by his father, to take a servant and look for his lost donkeys. The first thing that comes to my mind when I think of a donkey is stubbornness. Are God’s people, Israel, stubborn? The musician Asaph, among others, calls them stubborn.

Psalm 78:8 And may not be like their fathers, A stubborn and rebellious generation, A generation that did not set its heart aright, And whose spirit was not faithful to God.

In contrast, our king Jesus was sent to look for lost sheep. Sheep are followers. Granted, they will follow anything, but God’s sheep follow the voice of his Son, the Good Shepherd.

Matt 18:12-14 “What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine and go to the mountains to seek the one that is straying? “And if he should find it, assuredly, I say to you, he rejoices more over that sheep than over the ninety-nine that did not go astray. “Even so it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.

John 10:3-4 “To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. “And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.

***

1 Sam 9:5 When they had come to the land of Zuph, Saul said to his servant who was with him, “Come, let us return, lest my father cease caring about the donkeys and become worried about us.”

Notice that Saul has an unnamed servant. When one thinks of a servant, a helper comes to mind. There is a Helper with us today.

John 15:26 “But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me.

According to Strong’s a Helper or Comforter is summoned, called to one’s side, esp. called to one’s aid.

Our Helper, the Holy Spirit, points us to Jesus, the Son of God. Saul’s helper, his servant, points him to a man of God and when we look at the following verses with our telescope lens, we will see that all of the elements of Jesus surround this man of God as well.

***

1 Sam 9:6-7 And he said to him, “Look now, there is in this city a man of God, and he is an honorable man; all that he says surely comes to pass. So let us go there; perhaps he can show us the way that we should go.” Then Saul said to his servant, “But look, if we go, what shall we bring the man? For the bread in our vessels is all gone, and there is no present to bring to the man of God. What do we have?”

But Saul has nothing to offer this man of God. Isn’t this always the excuse? “God is not interested in me. I have nothing to offer him.” Well we truly do not have anything to offer him, but all He asks is that we believe.

Eph 1:13 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.

Once we believe we are sealed with the Holy Spirit. He becomes our token, or get out of jail free card. In a similar way, Saul’s servant offers to give the man his silver. A gift from the servant, in order for Saul to find out the way.

***

1 Sam 9:8 And the servant answered Saul again and said, “Look, I have here at hand one-fourth of a shekel of silver. I will give that to the man of God, to tell us our way.”

Also notice that they are indeed searching for their way. The words in God’s book are precise. The servant could have said that the seer may be able to tell us where our donkeys are, but he used words that point to Jesus instead.

John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

Samuel himself, at the close of the chapter, repeats this phrase.

1 Sam 9:26 They arose early; and it was about the dawning of the day that Samuel called to Saul on the top of the house, saying, “Get up, that I may send you on your way.”

***

Next, as they go to meet the man of God, the first things they see are women going out to draw water.

1 Sam 9:11 As they went up the hill to the city, they met some young women going out to draw water, and said to them, “Is the seer here?”

This is so typical of the things of God. Women at the well: Rebekah, Rachel, the Samaritan. This is a picture of Jesus who offers the living water and it is always women who are drawing from it. Women as the picture of the bride of Christ drink from the fountain of living water.

John 4:10 Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.”

In the first part of verse 12, the women also explain a sacrifice, which is about to take place.

1 Sam 9:12 And they answered them and said, “Yes, there he is, just ahead of you. Hurry now; for today he came to this city, because there is a sacrifice of the people today on the high place. “As soon as you come into the city, you will surely find him before he goes up to the high place to eat.

And where there is a sacrifice, there is blood.

1 John 5:6-13 This is He who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ; not only by water, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who bears witness, because the Spirit is truth.

We have seen these two elements of Jesus in this one verse: women drawing water from a well, and a blood sacrifice. In addition to this, Saul is being invited to eat at this feast.

1 Sam 9:13b For the people will not eat until he comes, because he must bless the sacrifice; afterward those who are invited will eat. Now therefore, go up, for about this time you will find him.”

What a parallel this is to the wedding feast explained in Matthew 22:1-5!

“The kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who arranged a marriage for his son, “and sent out his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding; and they were not willing to come. “Again, he sent out other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, “See, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and fatted cattle are killed, and all things are ready. Come to the wedding.” ’ “But they made light of it and went their ways, one to his own farm, another to his business.

At this feast the people who were invited did not really want to go, so they made excuses.

Mat 22:8-9 “Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy. ‘Therefore go into the highways, and as many as you find, invite to the wedding.’

So now the wedding hall is filled with guests, but there is one who does not belong.

Mat 22:11 “So he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you come in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. “Then the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ “For many are called, but few are chosen.”

Saul is also invited, but really isn’t chosen by God. He is called, but He is not the desire of God, only the desire on man.

***

In the next verses we see that the Lord had already told Samuel about Saul. The Lord had already chosen Saul to be the first king over his people, because he is the desire of the people. God will give us what we want.

Finally in verse 20, Samuel tells Saul what he has been searching for all along.

“But as for your donkeys that were lost three days ago, do not be anxious about them, for they have been found.

The donkeys have been lost 3 days. Jesus was in the tomb for 3 days and then resurrected. Our Hope resurrects after 3 days, just as Saul’s donkeys are found and his hope is returned.

***

Saul’s next words are humble and after which, he is exalted in a seat of honor at the feast.

Luke 14:11 “For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Unfortunately, this humility is only skin deep and his true colors will show when being king goes to his head.

1 Sam 15:17 So Samuel said, “When you were little in your own eyes, were you not head of the tribes of Israel? And did not the LORD anoint you king over Israel? …

There was another Saul, however, that after accepting the call of God, became truly little, and changed his name to Paul, which actually means little.

Paul calls himself least of all the saints in Ephesians 3:8, probably because of his persecution of the Christians before his conversion in Acts 8:3.

God uses the least among us to do great things for the glory of God.

Matt 11:11 “Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.

Luke 9:48 and said to them, “Whoever receives this little child in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me receives Him who sent Me. For he who is least among you all will be great.”

***

In verse 23, we read that Samuel has set apart a portion of meat just for Saul.

Paul was also set apart for the Gospel of God, and so are we.

Romans 1:1-6 Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God which He promised before through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures, concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead. Through Him we have received grace and apostleship for obedience to the faith among all nations for His name, among whom you also are the called of Jesus Christ;

God is our portion, his son was set apart to die on the cross for our sins and resurrected on the third day. Obedience to this faith is all we need to live.

Saul will eventually fail in obeying the Lord. Man will always fail. But God did not fail us. God is the only true and just king.

Posted by: Esther | May 28, 2010

The Genealogy of the Christ

Chapter 1:1-17 of the “Gospel according to Matthew” is a genealogical record of Jesus. This genealogy begins with Abraham and follows Joseph’s paternal line.

The record is summarized in verse 17:

So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations;

These generations are listed in verses 2-6

1. Abraham 2. Isaac 3. Jacob 4. Judah 5. Perez 6. Hezron 7. Ram

8. Amminadab 9. Nashon 10. Salmon 11. Boaz 12. Obed 13. Jesse 14. David

from David to the deportation to Babylon, fourteen generations;

These generations are listed in verses 6-11

1. David 2. Solomon 3. Rehoboam 4. Abijah 5. Asa 6. Jehoshaphat

7. Joram 8. Uzziah 9. Jotham, 10. Ahaz 11. Hezekiah 12. Manasseh

13. Amon 14. Josiah

and from the deportation to Babylon to the Messiah, fourteen generations.

These generations are listed in verses 12-16

1. Jeconiah 2. Shealtiel 3. Zerubbabel 4. Abihud 5. Eliakim 6. Azor

7. Zadok 8. Achim 9. Eliud 10. Eleazar 11. Matthan 12. Jacob 13. Joseph

14. Jesus

In recording this genealogy through Joseph, Matthew respects the traditional Jewish method of recording, even though Joseph is not Jesus’ biological father.

Matthew makes it clear however that Joseph’s role in the lineage of Jesus is as Mary’s husband.

Matthew 1:16 Jacob was the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, by whom Jesus was born, who is called the Messiah.

This however does not negate Jesus’ royal lineage, for we see in the lineage recorded in the “Gospel According to Luke” that Mary is also a descendant of King David.

Joseph’s royal line includes Jeconiah whom the Lord cursed through the prophet Jeremiah (Jer. 22:30); therefore a messiah through Solomon’s line could not claim the throne. Jesus has claim to the throne through David because Mary does not come through the lineage of Solomon, rather David’s son Nathan.

Women in the Genealogy:

Verse 3: Tamar: After Judah’s broken promise to wed her to his youngest son, Tamar disguised herself as a prostitute and conceives Perez and Zerah with Judah. Read the entire story in Genesis 38.

Verse 5: Rahab a prostitute who trusts in the God of the Israelites. (Joshua 2)

Verse 5: Ruth a Moabites who also trusts in the God of the Israelites. The nation of Moab was conceived from an incestual relationship between Lot and his daughters. (Genesis 19:30-38)

Verse 6: Bathsheba: Conceived Solomon through an adulterous and murderous relationship with King David. (2 Samuel 11)

Women’s names are traditionally not mentioned in Jewish genealogy and these women are truly scandalous in their time. But God pours out His grace and mercy on them; and through His Son proves to be the Great Liberator of Women.

Posted by: Esther | April 24, 2010

Overview of the Gospel According to Matthew

Overview of

The Gospel According to Matthew

The author: Matthew (Levi) son of Alpheus (Mark 2:14) Jew and tax collector who left everything to follow Jesus and become His disciple (Matthew 9:9-13, Luke 5:27-28).

This book was written for a Jewish audience between AD 58-68, before the destruction of the temple but maybe after Mark wrote his gospel.

Main themes:

  • Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection.
  • The Kingdom of Heaven
  • How we are to be

Arrangement of book: This book is arranged topically and each topic has a discourse or teaching, a demonstration of His power and deity, and a debate of His deity.

  • Chapters 1-10: The King is revealed: presentation, proclamation, and power.
  • Chapters 11-13: The King is resisted: opposition begins to surface.
  • Chapters 14-20: The King retreats: gives disciples personal instruction
  • Chapters 21-27: The King is rejected
  • Chapter 28: Proof of the King

Keywords:

  • Jesus/Son of God/Son of Man/Son of David/Christ/Messiah
  • God the Father
  • Kingdom of Heaven
  • That which might be fulfilled; that which was spoken
  • Crowd
  • Disciples
  • Blessed
  • Persecuted
  • Righteousness
  • Law/Prophets
  • Scribes/Pharisees/Sadducees/Elders/Teachers of the Law
  • Truly I say to You
  • Faith
  • Heal
  • Repent
  • Forgiven
  • Servant
  • Compassion

Lists:

  • The Character of Jesus
  • All That is Fulfilled
  • Kingdom of Heaven
  • Character of Scribes and Pharisees/Religious Leaders
  • Truly I Say to You
Posted by: Esther | April 22, 2010

Daily Activities for Spiritual Discipline

Daily Activities for Spiritual Discipline

¨    Follow a daily Bible reading plan.

¨    Spend 15-30 minutes in quiet prayer.

  • Write a list of thanks and praise to take before the Lord in prayer.
  • Write a list of prayer requests to take before the Lord. Always note His answers to each request.
  • Be sure to pray for your personal spiritual growth.
  • Spend half of the prayer time quiet before the Lord, listening for His will, direction or answers.

¨    Inductively study Scripture 45min – 1hr.

  • Be involved in a Bible Study with a group of believers who will hold you accountable.

¨    Memorize Scripture

  • Write a verse on a note card to memorize and meditate on while taking a walk.
  • Challenge yourself to memorize whole chapters of a book.

¨    Exercise your body 30min – 1hr.

¨    Take care of that which the Lord has given you.

  • Provide for your husband’s needs and be ready and available to him every minute of the day.
  • Keep a clean house, car, yard, etc.
  • Take care of animals or/and children.

¨    Be willing and ready for what the Lord calls you to do.

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 1 Cr 9:24

Posted by: Esther | April 22, 2010

Steps for Inductive Bible Study

Inductive Bible Study Guide

Step 1: Pray for guidance and for God to teach you. (John 16:13-15)

Step 2: Read the chapter and separate the events or verses of the chapter into logical chunks according to theme or topic. You may use the headings in your Bible, but do not limit yourself to this.

Step 3: Identify key words in each event in order to discover the “big idea” or theme of the passage, event, topic or chapter. “Key words always answer the question who, what, when, where, why or how. They are the most often words that are repeated. Names of key people in the story and their pronouns are key words. God, Jesus, and Holy Spirit or any words that mean the same, including pronouns, are also always key as we are seeking to discover more about God.” I use a colored pencil to mark key words. For example I mark a yellow cross next to the word Jesus and His pronouns, a blue cloud around Holy Spirit and His pronouns and black underline for God the Father.

I use a printed copy of the chapter from Blueletterbible.org to mark keywords and cross-references (from the interpretation step). I write the answers to the questions in steps 4 to 7 in a notebook with each section labeled Observation, Interpretation, and Application.

Step 4: Observation: Reread each event or topic and answer the following questions:

  • Who is writing or speaking and to whom? Who is in the event or who is the event about.
  • When does this take place?
  • Where does this take place?
  • What is the passage about? What problems were the recipients facing? What is the cause and effect of the problem? Summarize the event.
  • Why does the author write what he does? Or why is this event taking place?
  • How does this passage fit in with the context? (What goes before and after?) Or how did the event happen?
  • What do I learn about God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit?
  • Write out any additional observations including contrasts, lists, comparisons, etc.

Step 5: Theme: In one phrase, sum up the main thought of the passage.

Step 6: Interpret the passage. Use as many of the following questions as you need, progressing downward. Suggested resources for this step include: a concordance, a biblical dictionary, and blueletterbible.org

.

1. What are the meanings of the words?

2. What does the immediate context suggest?

3. What does the broader context suggest?

4. What do cross-references suggest?

5. What is the cultural meaning? (That is, what did it mean to those to whom it was originally addressed?)

6. What do commentaries suggest?

Step 7: Apply what you have learned?

2 Timothy 3:16: “All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for…

  • Teaching. What did I learn?
  • Reproof. Where do I fall short? Why do I fall short?
  • Correction. What will I do about it?
  • Training in righteousness. How can I make this principle a consistent part of my life? Which verse will I memorize and meditate on this week.

Complete steps 3-7 for each event in the chapter.

Posted by: Esther | April 22, 2010

Overview of Inductive Bible Study

Inductive Bible Study Overview

Observation:

  • Keywords
  • Who, What, When, Why, Where, How
  • Context
  • Theme

Interpretation:

  • What does this passage mean?
  • Cross referencing
  • Commentary
  • Concordance
  • Biblical dictionary/encyclopedia
  • Blueletterbible.com

Application:

  • How does this apply to me?
  • What did I learn?
  • How do I fall short?
  • What will I do about it?
  • Memory verse for meditation
Posted by: Esther | October 28, 2009

An Interpretation of The Sermon on the Mount

I am studying the last chapter of the Sermon on the Mount and I have been seeking wisdom from the Lord as to the continuity of it all. I am big as to how it all fits together. I feel that all the sub titles, headings and chapters in our Bibles sometimes do a disservice to the flow of the Word as it was originally spoken or written. In this case, Matthew writes the entire sermon as Jesus spoke it, yet we study it in three different sections, or chapters. I needed continuity and this is how the Lord gave it to me. It does start with chapter seven, since this is the chapter we are studying, however it circles through the entire sermon and finally ends with Jesus’ final analogy of a house built on a rock. This is a simple overview only to show the continuity of the message. Many details are left out.

Do not judge others or you will be judged. (Mat. 7:1) Do not be like the hypocrites, such as the Pharisees and Sadducees, who judge others and have no mercy for one who stumbles a little (or even a lot) in a certain area. They may look holy as they practice their righteousness before men, yet sin is in their hearts of which they will not confess. These are the dogs (7:6) and the pigs to which we are not give what is holy. Jesus spoke to these hypocrites in parables, but because we ask to be forgiven, seek wisdom, and knock on the door of our Heavenly Father’s Kingdom, these parables are clear and like beautiful pearls (7:6) with which the Lord adorns us.

We are to be aware of these false prophets (7:15) who appear to be holy. We will know them because they will produce bad fruit. Even though they prophecy, perform miracles and cast out demons in Jesus’ name, they will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven, because they sought their rewards from men- to be noticed by men. They stored up their treasures on earth only to rot like bad fruit. They did not confess the sins of their heart which was shown to them in this sermon, by these very words of Jesus. They did not seek God’s forgiveness and walked away from the door that was in front of them. They built their houses in sand and when the rain, floods and winds came it all came crashing down.

But we read this sermon and realize the overwhelming amount of sin that is in our hearts. We ask for forgiveness, seek wisdom, and knock on our Heavenly Father’s door. He gives us the gift of Jesus’ innocent life so that we may enter His kingdom. We show mercy to others, because we have been shown mercy (5:7). We build our house on the Rock – Jesus – so that when the rain, floods and winds come it stays strong. It does not fall.

Posted by: Esther | July 23, 2009

What Holiness Is and What It Isn’t

I am reading and studying the Pursuit of Holiness by Jerry Bridges. I am struck by the brutally honest nature with which Bridges explains our responsibility to be holy.

I will be writing a series of blogs based on my studies and my personal pursuit of holiness. All Bible verses will be in the New Living Translation unless otherwise noted.

This first blog is about what Bridges says holiness is and what it isn’t.

Holiness is not a list of do’s and don’ts. We are not to be like the self-righteous Pharisees with their long lists of laws. Unfortunately, many with this attitude have given holiness a negative connotation to the nonbeliever and are called “holy rollers,” “Bible thumpers,” or “holier than thou.”

Holiness is to be morally blameless, separated from sin and consecrated to God. It is conforming to the character of God as seen in His Word. Holiness is contrasted to immorality, impurity, and evil desires.

Holiness is a command and a birthright of every Christian.

1 Thess. 4:3-7 God wants you to be holy, so you should keep clear of all sexual sin. Then each of you will control your body and live in holiness and honor–not in lustful passion as the pagans do, in their ignorance of God and his ways.

1 Peter 1:14-16 Obey God because you are his children. Don’t slip back into your old ways of doing evil; you didn’t know any better then. But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God–who chose you to be his children–is holy. or he himself has said, “You must be holy because I am holy.”

Revelation 22:11 Let the one who is doing wrong continue to do wrong; the one who is vile, continue to be vile; the one who is good, continue to do good; and the one who is holy, continue in holiness.”

Romans 6:14 Sin is no longer your master, for you are no longer subject to the law, which enslaves you to sin. Instead, you are free by God’s grace.

I must analyze my every action: Am I being holy as God commanded? I am no longer a slave to sin. I must choose to do good. I must not give in to lustful passions. I pray that I will recognize a temptation, before I fall into sin. I have all the power I need to resist that temptation, and to resist any lustful passions I may have.

My next blog will be about the reasons so many Christians fail to be holy.

Posted by: Esther | October 21, 2008

True Religion

In the book of Isaiah chapter 1, God is warning Israel, through His prophet Isaiah, to  turn from their idolatry worship and wicked ways. He specifically commands them in verse 17 to:

Learn to do good; Seek justice, Reprove the ruthless, Defend the orphan, Plead for the widow.

I brought this verse up to the women in my Bible Study and asked them to consider how  we in our present lives, living in the USA, can make this verse a reality. Here are a few things we discussed along with my own thoughts and additions.

Learn to do good:
It was brought up that the only way we can really learn to do good is through Bible study. The only one who is “good” is God himself.

Mark 10:17-18 And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life? And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? [there is] none good but one, [that is], God.

Our good God gave the scriptures so that we would be equipped to do good, as He has done and as He is.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

Seek justice (judgment KJV):
Seeking justice does not give us the right to judge others. Paul warns us in Romans not to seek judgment on others unless we have fully searched out our own hearts.

Romans 2:1 Therefore you have no excuse, everyone of you who passes judgment, for in that which you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things.

I do not believe God is talking about the type of judgment or justice that would justify those who like to point fingers at others when they fall.

Isaiah prophecies about a judgment that will wash us clean of our sins.

Isaiah 4:4 When the Lord has washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion and purged the bloodshed of Jerusalem from her midst, by the spirit of judgment and the spirit of burning…

This prophecy is fulfilled in Jesus Christ. Paul explains the justification that resulted from the His death.

Romans 5:18 So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men.

One woman at the study believed that seeking justice refers to seeking the truth. I agree and add that in seeking truth we will find Jesus. Seeking justice and judgment, therefore, is applied in our lives by the working out of our salvation, as explained in Philippians chapter 2, assuming that we already believe the gospel message. For those who have turned from God and have sought other religions or rituals, seeking justice will refer to the justice that only God gives through His son Jesus. Those of us who have found His grace, must then be working out our salvation in order to be a witness of that justice for those who seek it. Seeking justice therefore is a perpetual act in the working out of our salvation.

Reprove the ruthless:

KJV translates this as relieve the oppressed; NKJV as rebuke the oppressor; NLT as help the oppressed; NIV as encourage the oppressed and ESV as correct oppression.
Who are the oppressed in our society? Woman, African American, Arabs, Christians, the unborn child, the poor…? I guess that depends on your perspective and the heart the Lord has given you.

Psalm 37:4 says, “ Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.”

As we learn to do good and seek justice, the Lord will show us the group of oppressed that He wants us to help and encourage. Or He may lay on your heart and put in a situation to rebuke the oppressor in order to correct it.

Perhaps you are the oppressed. Learn to do good and seek justice, that is salvation, then the Lord will be your refuge and you will in turn bring encouragement and help to other oppressed peoples as you become a witness of Him.

Psalm 9:9 The LORD also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 Blessed {be} the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

I did ask for opinions at my Bible study as to who they thought were the oppressed in our society and how we should encourage them and correct it. Two groups stood out: the unborn child, and the poor. Legalized abortion and abortion without parental consent has created a group of oppressed who has no voice, the unborn child. The unborn child has become property and a thing that has no rights and no soul. Not even considered human; lower than a slave used to be considered here in America. The question should not be “when” does the unborn become a child with rights, because the fact is that they will all become a child if they are permitted to. 10 out of 10 zygotes and fetuses become babies unless death prevents them from doing so. This fact should prove that abortion is murder. This group therefore has become oppressed just as the slaves were in this countries beginnings.

Psalm 139:13 For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb.

The obvious and best solution for the correction of this oppressed group is prayer and salvation for the oppressors. We also, as Christians, have the obligation to vote for representatives that will correct this oppression.

Romans 13:1 Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.

Unfortunately many Christians see a conflict in our options of representatives. One candidate seems to want to correct the oppression of the poor, yet justifies the oppression of the unborn child by allowing a “choice” to the mother; while the other candidate seems to want to continue the oppression of the poor while fighting for the lives of the unborn child. I do not see this split at all. Many believe that if we move closer to a socialistic society we will be able to correct the oppression of the poor. I do not agree. Our country was not founded on socialist principles, but on the principles of capitalism. As a result, our poorest are among the wealthiest of the poor in the world. There is not a single socialist country without the poor. In fact Jesus says the poor will always be with us. Capitalism is the best way to correct the oppression of the poor, until Jesus returns. Businesses create jobs. The more we head toward socialism, the more oppressed we will all become.

Ultimately it is Jesus who corrects the oppression of all people. Jesus encourages and helps everyone.

Luke 4:18 “THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD IS UPON ME, BECAUSE HE ANOINTED ME TO PREACH THE GOSPEL TO THE POOR. HE HAS SENT ME TO PROCLAIM RELEASE TO THE CAPTIVES, AND RECOVERY OF SIGHT TO THE BLIND, TO SET FREE THOSE WHO ARE OPPRESSED,

A socialist government can take away our right to express our faith (not that it would or could stop us), but freedom of religion has allowed this country to be the number one country to send out missionaries who spread and share the gospel. The gospel message is the way to free the oppressed; any oppressed group.

Defend the Orphan:

KJV calls the orphans the fatherless.  So we must ask, “Who are the fatherless or orphan’s in our society, community or neighborhood?” Maybe we should first understand what a father really is before we try to determine who is truly fatherless. Take a look at Abraham, the father of many nations. He was chosen as the father of many nations, so that he would command his children to keep the way of the Lord.

Genesis 18:19 “For I have chosen him, so that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing righteousness and justice, so that the LORD may bring upon Abraham what He has spoken about him.”

So, according to the Word, a father commands a child to keep the way of the Lord. How many fathers in your neighborhood are commanding their children to keep the ways of the Lord. I see a lot of fatherless children in my neighborhood.

So now we ask, “How do we defend these fatherless?” A child must be accused of something before we can defend him/her. But all children are already accused sinners. All have been given the death penalty for their sins. A fatherless child does not know that their heavenly Father wants to grant him/her mercy, grace and eternal life. We can defend these fatherless children through intercessory prayer, being a witness of our heavenly Father, and teaching them the steps to salvation. Once a child believes that Jesus, the Son of God, died for his/her sins and was resurrected to give him/her eternal life, the child will no longer be fatherless.

Romans 8:14 For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God,

John 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, [even] to them that believe on his name:

Some practical ways, therefore, to defend the orphans may be to invite some fatherless children to Sunday School, or tell Bible Stories to children in your neighborhood. Pray for the fatherless children that the Lord has put in your life. Ask Him to open their heart to receive salvation. Ask the Lord to empower you through His Holy Spirit to be a witness to a fatherless child. Invite them into your home, feed them, befriend them and show them Jesus.

Plead for the Widow:

Only males, during Biblical times, could take legal action, make contracts, and manage property. This is not the case here in the US. Widows may seek government aid and may be taken care of by life insurance plans, etc. So how does this verse relate to us today?

We can learn a lot from the best known Biblical widows in the book of Ruth. Once Ruth and Naomi returned to Jerusalem, they were reduced to gleaning the fields for food. In a sense, this gleaning is like the government aid widows receive today. It may be just enough to sustain them, if they spend it wisely, yet as Ruth and Naomi were, the widow is still alone, and unprotected from evil. Ruth, by the grace of God, wanders into Boaz’s field. Aware of the dangers Ruth faced, Boaz commanded his servants not to harm her and even commanded them to drop extra grain for her to glean.

Ruth 2:8-9 Then Boaz said to Ruth, “Listen carefully, my daughter. Do not go to glean in another field; furthermore, do not go on from this one, but stay here with my maids. “Let your eyes be on the field which they reap, and go after them. Indeed, I have commanded the servants not to touch you. When you are thirsty, go to the water jars and drink from what the servants draw.”

Ruth 2:15-16 When she rose to glean, Boaz commanded his servants, saying, “Let her glean even among the sheaves, and do not insult her.  “Also you shall purposely pull out for her {some grain} from the bundles and leave {it} that she may glean, and do not rebuke her.”

Widows today may need extra help paying bills that may have been left to them from the deceased. Government aid is not always enough. Many widows today loose their homes because of taxes they cannot pay.

Ultimately Boaz, a picture a Jesus, became Naomi’s kinsmen redeemer. Naomi needed a kinsmen (relative) to purchase back the land which belonged to her husband. Not only did he purchase back the land, but he married Ruth in order to provide Naomi with a son to inherit the land. Boaz provided for Naomi and Ruth in every way possible.

Every widow which God has placed in our lives must know about her true redeemer, Jesus Christ, who purchases us from sin with his blood on the cross. It is our duty to be a witness of Him, as was Boaz.

Ephesians 1:7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace.

Paul gives the church specific guidelines for widows in 1 Timothy 5. He suggests that young widows should remarry. He states that widows should be cared for by their family members, so they are not a burden to the church. We, as believers, must make sure that the widows in our family are being cared for.
We must provide for them, pray for the them, protect them and share the gospel with them.

In conclusion,  we must seek God in His Word, proclaim the gospel in the working out of your salvation, and be a witness of His love to the oppressed, to children, and to widows. This is true religion.

James 1:27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, [and] to keep himself unspotted from the world.

Posted by: Esther | September 13, 2008

Keeping up with it all

We finished our second week of homeschooling and I think we got about 3 full days completed. Well we went to the zoo, so including that, we completed 4 days. We have been plagued with sickness. Elijah had a fever and was sick about 3 days. Now Isaiah is sick and has been for about 3 days. My goal this year was to finish an entire Sonlight Core in one year. I’m not on a very good track, but the beautiful weather hasn’t been very motivating to stay inside and work. Living in PNW, we take full advantage of sunny weather, if we can.

Homeschooling three has proved to be very challenging. It wouldn’t be if the seven year gap didn’t exist between my first and second. I am doing Sonlight Core 4 with my oldest. We spend about 2 hours just reading together. We are constantly discussing the literature and looking things up as we go, which makes the reading much longer. I am really focusing on improving his reading comprehension this year. I am teaching my two youngest how to read; beginning with phonemic awareness and letter sounds. I spend about two hours with them as well; doing reading, sounds, handwriting, and math. Well that is really only four hours between the three children, but I do spend about an extra hour with my oldest checking up on his independent work. Don’t forget the hour of exercise and an hour of cleanup/chores. So that is still only a total of six hours. What am I doing with the rest of my day? Not like I am blogging or anything. Everything is done a little slower this year because I am pregnant.

Needless to say, last year I was able to clean one room in the house every day. Not happening this year. The house is presentable, but I want to keep up with the deep cleaning as well. I went for a walk with my husband to tell him how overwhelmed I am, mainly because I don’t see how I am going to keep up with the housework. He suggested that we all take on the house Saturday mornings. Mark and Elijah will take on cleaning most of the house, while I do my baking for the week and clean the kitchen and floors. What a wonderful idea! I knew I kept him around for something. 😉 Well we can’t start that this Saturday, since Isaiah is sick and Mark has to take down this wall to fit our new wood burning stove which will be installed in nine days. He will be making a mess anyway, so no reason to clean this week. I think the house can go one more week as long as we spot clean.

I am praying Isaiah gets better by Monday, so we can have a normal week. Oh wait I have an appointment with the midwife on Wednesday and I really need to get the kids a haircut which is in Bellevue, so that will be another day off. I think I’ll make that for the week after. I guess it really is impossible to really keep up with it all. One day at a time and remember: Life is School!

2Peter 1:2-8 Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of {the} divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in {your} moral excellence, knowledge, and in {your} knowledge, self-control, and in {your} self-control, perseverance, and in {your} perseverance, godliness, and in {your} godliness, brotherly kindness, and in {your} brotherly kindness, love. For if these {qualities} are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

That is what it is all about!

Posted by: Esther | August 28, 2008

In the Mind of a Homebirther

I just a read a blog that I believe requires a response. In it the blogger wrote that it is irresponsible for women to give birth at home, because all that one needs is in the hospital if something goes wrong. This is probably a common view, but that reasoning comes from one who really is uneducated about the birthing process, and modern medicine. Without getting into statistics about the safety of homebirthing vs. hospital birthing (if one would like to know they can google that), I would like to explain the mindset of a homebirther.

We believe that giving birth is a natural process and we do not believe it is natural for anything to go wrong. With this mindset it would seem silly to give birth in the hospital. Let me explain further… riding a bike can be dangerous. You could fall off the bike, brake bones, or get hit by a car. But you wouldn’t ride your bike in a hospital just in case something happened. This is exactly the mindset of a homebirther. Why would I want to have a baby in a place that is for sick or broken people to get better? If I am sick or broken, I will go there to get better or fixed. But just like I don’t have my kids ride their bikes in the hospital in case something happens, I will not give birth in a hospital in case something happens.

Now there are many, many other reasons why we homebirth, but this is in direct response to that comment made from another blogger. I hope this helps others to understand us better. Homebirthing is under attack by greedy physicians, lawyers, and politicians, and unfortunately uneducated people buy into their propaganda. If anyone believes that homebirthing is irresponsible I urge them to check the statistics. But in checking the statistics, find unbiased statistical data. The AMA and Ob-Gyn’s will skew the statistics to support their agenda. Check statistics from other countries, such as Europe. You may be enlightened.

But beyond that, I even wonder why people care. I don’t care if people want to give birth in a hospital. I believe they should have that right, even though I may not agree that it is the best or safest place to give birth. Why then do people want to take away the right for a mom to have her baby born at home? We as women have the right to give life or take it, but we don’t even have the right to choose where we want to deliver that life. Hmmm… Our society can be so hypocritical.

Colossians 2: 8-10 See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ. For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority.

Lord willing, I will be as vigorous a homebirther as the Jewish women in Egypt. But praise God for modern medicine, in case something does go wrong, I will ask the Lord to give them the wisdom to fix it. And if they can’t, it will be the Lord’s will.

Posted by: Esther | August 28, 2008

Found a Midwife

I met a midwife today that is willing to deliver my baby. She is not afraid of the government or politics. Finally! Mark really likes her as well. She hasn’t been practicing for as long as I am comfortable with, but considering Mark was going to deliver the baby with internet how-to, I can’t complain. So basically if anything happens to where I have to go to the hospital, she will drop off the scene. Too bad it has come to this. Reminds me of the Biblical midwife story.

Exodus 1:15-21 Then the king of Egypt spoke to the Hebrew midwives, one of whom was named Shiphrah and the other was named Puah; and he said, “When you are helping the Hebrew women to give birth and see {them} upon the birthstool, if it is a son, then you shall put him to death; but if it is a daughter, then she shall live.” But the midwives feared God, and did not do as the king of Egypt had commanded them, but let the boys live. So the king of Egypt called for the midwives and said to them, “Why have you done this thing, and let the boys live?” The midwives said to Pharaoh, “Because the Hebrew women are not as the Egyptian women; for they are vigorous and give birth before the midwife can get to them.” So God was good to the midwives, and the people multiplied, and became very mighty. Because the midwives feared God, He established households for them.

We have to lie these days to have a natural birth; to give birth the way God intended. But they make it so easy for us to kill our babies. Teenagers don’t even have to have parental consent to do so. It really is no better these days, then in the days of the Exodus.

Well I pray that God gives me vigor to deliver a healthy baby. As he multiplied the Jews then, because of His promise, may he multiply my family because we believe in His Son. And may he bless my midwife, because she fears the Him, not the government.

Posted by: Esther | August 25, 2008

18 Weeks

I feel the baby kick all the time now. Mark bought one of those heart monitors to listen to the babies heart beat. He loves it. Gets him closer to the baby. You can hear all sorts of stuff through that thing, even the liquid sloshing around.

I am meeting a midwife in Puyallup on Wednesday. Very excited, because she is willing to deliver my baby at home. She is only about an hour away.

I have lots of energy right now, but I have to be careful. After I exercise my whole body aches and I am good for nothing the rest of the day. Maybe I’ll just do 30 minutes of yoga. My lower back has this sharp shooting pain in it if I stand for too long, but if I rest on my side, then stretch a little, it goes away. I told Mark’s chiropractor about it and he adjusted me, but did nothing for that area. And the part he adjusted was just fine. Whatever.

I am all belly right now. I feel kind of big for only 4 months. My stomach sticks out and it is obvious I am pregnant, or I have some kind of stomach disease.

Since I can’t use proactive anymore, my friend turned me on to green tea and peppermint facials. So after I wash with my favorite seaweed soap from Reviva Lab, I stick the green tea bag in hot water and then rub the bag all over my face. It feels great. I follow with the peppermint tea bag. The green tea is an antioxidant for your skin and the peppermint acts as a toner. I also use Kettle Care sensitive skin cream and a wild rose eye cream. So far my face looks very healthy. My chin has a few little blemishes, but nothing tragic.

I am just finishing up the book of Esther and it has, as all of them, strengthened my faith. God will use the good and bad for His purpose. His purpose is obviously best since He created us and while things might look scary, He is in complete control.

Psalm 91

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress, My God, in whom I trust!”
For it is He who delivers you from the snare of the trapper And from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with His pinions, And under His wings you may seek refuge; His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark.
You will not be afraid of the terror by night, Or of the arrow that flies by day;
Of the pestilence that stalks in darkness, Or of the destruction that lays waste at noon.
A thousand may fall at your side And ten thousand at your right hand, {But} it shall not approach you.
You will only look on with your eyes And see the recompense of the wicked.
For you have made the LORD, my refuge, {Even} the Most High, your dwelling place.
No evil will befall you, Nor will any plague come near your tent.
For He will give His angels charge concerning you, To guard you in all your ways.
They will bear you up in their hands, That you do not strike your foot against a stone.
You will tread upon the lion and cobra, The young lion and the serpent you will trample down.
“Because he has loved Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him {securely} on high, because he has known My name.
“He will call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him.
“With a long life I will satisfy him And let him see My salvation.”

Posted by: Esther | August 21, 2008

Frustrated with Doctors and Politics

A little frustrated today. The midwife that delivered Ruthie is 2 1/2 hours away in Everett, so I went to see a midwife that is only about an hour and ten minutes away who delivered the babies of two of my friends. Well after driving all that way to see her I find out that she will not deliver my baby because of the cesarian I had with Isaiah. Her insurance will not cover her. Well I just broke down, because I absolutely refuse to have any more babies in a hospital unless I am dying. I feel sabotaged. The doctor that delivered Isaiah gave me no other choice but to have a c-section and the research that proves a baby can be turned in the womb and even delivered breech successfully is overwhelming. Well I wasn’t told that at all, nor given any options other than a c-section. And now that I have had a c-section a midwife has to breach her insurance policy in order to deliver my baby at home. And most wont. The midwife that I saw today is very “by the book” and I am not blaming her at all, I am just frustrated with doctors and politics. My sister, who is a pediatric nurse, told me that she has witnessed several times a doctor performing a c-section just because they have somewhere to go. They are ruining women’s lives really. AAAAH!
Anyway, good news is that the midwife who delivered Ruthie will deliver this baby. It will be quite a drive, but hopefully quicker than the labor. She also gave me another name of a midwife that she says will probably take my case. She is in Seattle, so it is a little closer (an hour and an half).
I talked to another midwife that goes to our church. She hasn’t delivered a baby in a year and a half, because she has no doctor to support her. The doctor that did support her had to drop the midwives performing home births, because his insurance costs were outrageous. She also said that if something were to go wrong and we ended up in the hospital, the hospital will call cps. Mark is outraged right now. Why is this a cps issue? Why is it that you can have an abortion but not deliver your baby at home with the support of professionals that have delivered thousands of babies successfully at home? What is wrong with this society? Everyone talks about cherishing human life, and humanity, but no one is really practicing it. Everyone talks about freedom, but do they realize that freedom is for the individual, not the collective. What right does anyone have to tell me how and where to deliver my baby? Our forefathers came here to escape this type of control. Our country was set up to protect individual rights. But somehow lawyers and special interest groups have taken over this country. People think that government is the answer to poverty. Haven’t we already proved that that capitalism is the answer to poverty. We are the richest nation in the world. All big government does is control……
Ok, Ok, I am off the tangent.

Anyway, God is in complete control.

Ecclesiastes 7:14 In the day of prosperity be happy, But in the day of adversity consider– God has made the one as well as the other So that man will not discover anything {that will be} after him.

Job 42:4 “I know that You can do all things, And that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted.

Posted by: Esther | July 25, 2008

Pregnancy update: 3 months (I am off the couch)

Well I am feeling better these days. I am about 14 weeks now. Funny everyone thinks that my tummy is a bit big for only 14 weeks, some have suggested it may be twins. Maybe I am just fat, bluh. Or maybe, since this is my fourth, my body just knows what to do and has stretched out early.

I got my first Fit Pregnancy magazine and found out that benzoyl peroxide can cause birth defect. So can aloe vera. Well I have been using Proactive for four years. I used it through my pregnancy with Ruthie and she is fine. I hate to not use it; I am so acne prone. Well my husband told me not to use it, so I guess I wont. I’ll let you know how that goes. I’ll just use my seaweed soap. I’ll have to get a natural moisturizer though. Humph…more to think about.

My energy has come back. Nausea is pretty much gone. Or maybe it is masked by the head cold I have right now.

I have really started to like yoga and am doing it with the kids. I am also doing squats, lunges and exercises with the resistant bands. I think I have a pretty good routine going that I can keep at least till the last trimester.

My sister died on Friday. I went to visit Bonita and Dad in Oregon and we got all the details taken care of. I will miss her, but I know I will see her again. She is in a better place than I am.

I am studying the book of Esther right now. Almost finished. Wonderful book to learn how to be a godly woman. I have already blogged on it a bit (What Would Esther Have Done). Here are my favorite verses at this time:

Esther 2:15 Now when the turn of Esther, the daughter of Abihail the uncle of Mordecai who had taken her as his daughter, came to go in to the king, she did not request anything except what Hegai, the king’s eunuch who was in charge of the women, advised. And Esther found favor in the eyes of all who saw her.

Esther 4:16 “Go, assemble all the Jews who are found in Susa, and fast for me; do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my maidens also will fast in the same way. And thus I will go in to the king, which is not according to the law; and if I perish, I perish.”

Posted by: Esther | July 13, 2008

What Would Esther Have Done?

Queen Vashti’s Character:

Esther 1:9-12 Queen Vashti also gave a banquet for the women in the palace which belonged to King Ahasuerus. On the seventh day, when the heart of the king was merry with wine, he commanded Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha, Abagtha, Zethar and Carkas, the seven eunuchs who served in the presence of King Ahasuerus, to bring Queen Vashti before the king with {her} royal crown in order to display her beauty to the people and the princes, for she was beautiful. But Queen Vashti refused to come at the king’s command delivered by the eunuchs. Then the king became very angry and his wrath burned within him.

Esther’s Character:

Esther 2:7-15 He (Mordecai) was bringing up Hadassah, that is Esther, his uncle’s daughter, for she had no father or mother. Now the young lady was beautiful of form and face, and when her father and her mother died, Mordecai took her as his own daughter. So it came about when the command and decree of the king were heard and many young ladies were gathered to the citadel of Susa into the custody of Hegai, that Esther was taken to the king’s palace into the custody of Hegai, who was in charge of the women. Now the young lady pleased him and found favor with him. So he quickly provided her with her cosmetics and food, gave her seven choice maids from the king’s palace and transferred her and her maids to the best place in the harem. Esther did not make known her people or her kindred, for Mordecai had instructed her that she should not make {them} known. Every day Mordecai walked back and forth in front of the court of the harem to learn how Esther was and how she fared. Now when the turn of each young lady came to go in to King Ahasuerus, after the end of her twelve months under the regulations for the women–for the days of their beautification were completed as follows: six months with oil of myrrh and six months with spices and the cosmetics for women–the young lady would go in to the king in this way: anything that she desired was given her to take with her from the harem to the king’s palace. In the evening she would go in and in the morning she would return to the second harem, to the custody of Shaashgaz, the king’s eunuch who was in charge of the concubines. She would not again go in to the king unless the king delighted in her and she was summoned by name. Now when the turn of Esther, the daughter of Abihail the uncle of Mordecai who had taken her as his daughter, came to go in to the king, she did not request anything except what Hegai, the king’s eunuch who was in charge of the women, advised. And Esther found favor in the eyes of all who saw her.

So the big question is… What would Esther have done if she had been summoned by the king to display her beauty before a bunch of drunk men?

The question is not whether Queen Vashti was morally right or wrong for responding the way she did; but rather a question of how a women with a godly character would and should respond to such a command.

I think most of us women, because of the feminist culture we live in, want to cheer Queen Vashti on for standing up for all women and our right to be respected individuals, but is this really the character God wants us to have.

In contrast, let’s look at Esther’s character. She is first submissive to Mordecai who has raised her as his own daughter, even to keeping her nationality a secret. She is submissive to the eunuch Hegai who cares for her in the harem, to the point that she only takes into the king what he suggests, instead of selfishly taking what would benefit her if she happened to not be chosen, and instead of taking in what she thinks the king will like best. Most of us women have the tendency to think we know what’s best. Esther never steps out of this submissive role, even to the point of obeying Mordecai and putting her own life on the line to save the Jews. As a result, Esther is favored by everyone she comes into contact with, God uses her, and because of her submission, her people are saved.

So back to the question…would Esther have displayed her beauty to a bunch of drunk men? I believe she would have, but I believe she would have done so with such dignity and honor that every man would have been immediately guilt ridden and would have had to hide their eyes with shame for disrespecting such a discreet and chaste women. Where as Queen Vashti brought demotion upon herself and bondage to all women who were now commanded to obey their husbands as if they were a slave, Esther would have brought honor to herself, God and all women.

Eph 5:22-23 Wives, {be subject} to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself {being} the Savior of the body.

Eph 5:32, 33b This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church. ..and the wife must {see to it} that she respects her husband.

As you study Esther further you will discover that she had character that brought honor to God, herself, the Jews, and even the king, her husband. She was an example of the relationship that the church (that is each one of us) must have with Christ. This character was not her audacity to be who she wanted to be and do as she thought best for herself. It was the character of submission and obedience which brought her strength and courage to bring about honor and favor from God and to all people.

This is the example God wants us to follow, not the example the world would have us follow. It is submission and obedience to God and my husband that I desire to obtain and the example I want my own daughter to follow in order to bring honor and glory to God who sent His Son to die for the forgiveness of our sins and to be resurrected so that we may have eternal life if we believe.

Isaiah 55:8 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD.

Posted by: Esther | June 24, 2008

I Have a Dream Husband

I am writing this post in response to a comment to my last blog. I am about 9 weeks pregnant and still can’t get off the couch. Really that’s an exaggeration. I get up to do some things. I manage to make meals. I am actually really good in the morning until about 3pm. Then I must take a nap and don’t feel much better when I wake up. Nauseous the rest of the evening. Dinner is really hard to make. I am totally behind in house work, and so should be vacuuming or something, but just can’t get motivated to get up. It’s too late right now anyway.:) I praise God every day for my hardworking, sensitive, and caring husband. When he is done with his work everyday, he continues with remodeling the house. He always ask if I need anything, and is very attentive to my needs. He takes care of the kids while I sleep and offers to make dinner. He tells me that it is ok to relax and rest. He will take care of things. Well his kindness does make me want to work harder and get off the couch. Who wouldn’t want to have children for this man. He makes everything ok.

For those of you who may not have a dream husband or want to know how to get over it and allow your husband to become the man of your dreams, I recommend that you read Debi Pearl, “Created to be His Helpmeet.” Here is some scripture for your encouragement.

1 Peter 3:1-2 In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any {of them} are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, s they observe your chaste and respectful behavior.

Ephesians 5:22- 24 Wives, {be subject} to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself {being} the Savior of the body. But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives {ought to be} to their husbands in everything.

If you obey the Word of the Lord in your marriage, it will be a piece of heaven. It wasn’t until I submitted to God’s will for my life and thus submitted to my husband, that he became a dream. Transform our marriage with the Word.

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Posted by: Esther | June 13, 2008

Pregnant and Can’t Get Off the Couch

Well I haven’t blogged the Bible lately probably because I can’t focus for too long. I am about 7 weeks pregnant and very tired. I have no internal motivation whatsoever and feel like I have a constant hangover. I am even dizzy writing this blog. I have decided that I want to blog this journey through my fourth pregnancy, hopefully to encourage someone else and then to have for my own records.

So here I am 7 weeks pregnant, and I can’t get off the couch. I still get up every morning to exercise. I am doing Cathe Fredric’s (sp?) Cardio Blast on Fit TV. She is killing me. On Fridays I do Gilad’s Bodies in Motion and Namaste Yoga. I think as I get further along I will just stick with Gilad and Yoga, but I don’t want to baby myself. My goal is to stay really fit this pregnancy. I was fit with my last two as well, so I really don’t know what I am worried about. This pregnancy I feel more tired than the others, but my husband says I was this tired with Ruthie. He believes it’s a girl. I guess nursing my two year old isn’t helping my energy level much. But I nursed all the way through my last pregnancy as well, so it’s nothing new.

I just ordered Fit Pregnancy magazine. I am excited about receiving my first issue. So my mind set is this: “I am training for a marathon.” The marathon of labor and at the end is the greatest blessing of all.

I have talked a lot about fitness, but I am determined to stay fit spiritually as well. I am studying the books of Ruth and Esther in my Women’s Bible Study and my Elijah and I are studying Revelation.

I pray for perseverance, wisdom and patience. Perseverance to do what I do not want to do. Wisdom to care for my body and patience for the training up of my children when I have no patience to do so. I thank God for the wonderful husband he has given me. He meets my needs and allows me to be on this couch.

Genesis 3:16 To the woman He said, “I will greatly multiply Your pain in childbirth, In pain you will bring forth children; Yet your desire will be for your husband, And he will rule over you.”

Isaiah 53:11 As a result of the anguish of His soul, He will see {it and} be satisfied; By His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many, As He will bear their iniquities.

John 16:21 “Whenever a woman is in labor she has pain, because her hour has come; but when she gives birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish because of the joy that a child has been born into the world.

Posted by: Esther | May 5, 2008

From Pleasant to Bitter

Ruth 1:6-7 Then she arose with her daughters-in-law that she might return from the land of Moab, for she had heard in the land of Moab that the LORD had visited His people in giving them food. So she departed from the place where she was, and her two daughters-in-law with her; and they went on the way to return to the land of Judah.

Under submission to her husband, Naomi left the “house of bread” to live in the land of God’s washpot (Psalm 60:8). There, Naomi lost everything meaningful to her: her husband and two sons. One may ask, “Why does God allow such suffering on those he loves?” To answer this we must first believe that God is sovereign over His creation. He knows what is best for each of us, because He knows our past, present, and future.
Psalm 139 speaks of God’s omniscience best. Here are just the first three verses:

Psa 139:1-3 O LORD, You have searched me and known {me}. You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You understand my thought from afar. You scrutinize my path and my lying down, And are intimately acquainted with all my ways.

We must also believe that God wants nothing but joy for us.

Psalm 5:11 But let all who take refuge in You be glad, Let them ever sing for joy; And may You shelter them, That those who love Your name may exult in You.

Isaiah 30:18 Therefore the LORD longs to be gracious to you, And therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you. For the LORD is a God of justice; How blessed are all those who long for Him

It is my perspective that Naomi’s losses were not because of God’s wrath or judgement on her for something she did wrong, for Naomi was under the submission of her rebelling husband.

Genesis 3:16b Yet your desire will be for your husband, And he will rule over you.”

Naomi followed her husband into rebellion, yet in submission to her husband, she was also honoring the Lord.

1Cr 11:7-9 For a man ought not to have his head covered, since he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man. For man does not originate from woman, but woman from man; for indeed man was not created for the woman’s sake, but woman for the man’s sake.

Unfortunately the unthinkable had to happen in order for Naomi to be blessed. We might think, “Surely there could have been a better way to bless her. Surely her husband and sons did not have to die in order for her to receive a blessing.”

Romans 9:20 On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, “Why did you make me like this,” will it?”

When Jesus’ disciples asked why a certain man was blind, He answered:

John 9:3 “{It was} neither {that} this man sinned, nor his parents; but {it was} so that the works of God might be displayed in him.

And what a great set of work we will see as God graciously redeems Naomi’s namesake.

But I believe it is God’s words through Paul’s to the Corinthian church that sheds light on Naomi’s actions here:

1 Cor 7:34 The woman who is unmarried, and the virgin, is concerned about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and spirit; but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how she may please her husband.

Following the example of her husband, Naomi follows her stomach back to the “House of Bread.” Considering that Naomi was raised among people that worshipped idols and a husband who followed his stomach, her actions are certainly understandable.

Ruth 1:8-9 And Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go, return each of you to her mother’s house. May the LORD deal kindly with you as you have dealt with the dead and with me. “May the LORD grant that you may find rest, each in the house of her husband.” Then she kissed them, and they lifted up their voices and wept.

Now why would a believer in the one true God send her loved ones back to worship a false God? Remember that Naomi was raised among people that worshipped idols and a husband who followed his stomach and not his God. Her actions here are an example of the world she is from. Conversion is always a process. When we first accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior our world views do not automatically disappear from our hearts. For example, it may take years before we realize that abortion is murder and that evolution is contrary to Biblical truth. Naomi is going through a process of conversion here as well. She has learned to tolerate idol worship for so long that she has become desensitized to the practice.

Ruth 1:10-13 And they said to her, “{No,} but we will surely return with you to your people.” But Naomi said, “Return, my daughters. Why should you go with me? Have I yet sons in my womb, that they may be your husbands? “Return, my daughters! Go, for I am too old to have a husband. If I said I have hope, if I should even have a husband tonight and also bear sons, would you therefore wait until they were grown? Would you therefore refrain from marrying? No, my daughters; for it is harder for me than for you, for the hand of the LORD has gone forth against me.”

Naomi’s main concern for her daughter-in-laws is husbands, or the lack of. If a woman in those days lost her husband it was the duty of the brother to marry his sister-in-law in order to carry on the deceased’s name.

Deuteronomy 25:5-6 “When brothers live together and one of them dies and has no son, the wife of the deceased shall not be {married} outside {the family} to a strange man. Her husband’s brother shall go in to her and take her to himself as wife and perform the duty of a husband’s brother to her. “It shall be that the firstborn whom she bears shall assume the name of his dead brother, so that his name will not be blotted out from Israel.

We also have a glimpse into Naomi’s true feelings about this tragedy when she explains, “ for the hand of the LORD has gone forth against me.” We will see more of this as we continue in this chapter.

Ruth 1:14-18 And they lifted up their voices and wept again; and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her. Then she said, “Behold, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and her gods; return after your sister-in-law.” But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you {or} turn back from following you; for where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people {shall be} my people, and your God, my God. “Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. Thus may the LORD do to me, and worse, if {anything but} death parts you and me.” When she saw that she was determined to go with her, she said no more to her.

The name Orpah means youthful or fawn. Ruth means friendship. And here we see that they are true to their names. Like a young fawn, Orpah returns home, but like a true friend, Ruth is willing to stick it out no matter what the outcome. Ruth is willing to completely cut herself off from her heritage and culture. She is willing to be a foreigner in a land that calls her an enemy and worship a God whose “hand is against them.”

Proverbs 17:17 A friend loves at all times, And a brother is born for adversity.

In this response, Ruth is a picture of Christ.

Philippians 2: 4-8 do not {merely} look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, {and} being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

Galations 6:2 Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.

Ruth 1:16b-17 …where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people {shall be} my people, and your God, my God. “Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried.

How sad it is that so many couples today say these very words to each other on their wedding day, but unlike Ruth, they quickly become a fawn and divorce when trials and tragedy occur.

Ruth’s powerful and persistent response silences Naomi’s plea for her to return to home.

Ruth 1:19 So they both went until they came to Bethlehem. And when they had come to Bethlehem, all the city was stirred because of them, and the women said, “Is this Naomi?”

The fact that the city was stirred at the site of them indicates that Naomi must of been well known. Remember that Naomi’s name means pleasant. As she enters the city, she must not have looked very pleasant.

Ruth 20-21 She said to them, “Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. “I went out full, but the LORD has brought me back empty. Why do you call me Naomi, since the LORD has witnessed against me and the Almighty has afflicted me?”

Naomi goes from being pleasant to bitter and from full to empty. Yet Naomi was not complaining, rather she was confessing that God had to deal dramatically with her in order to get her attention. This protest is a signature of hope. We see this type of response to God’s chastening hand in other parts of His Word:

Psalm 74 O God, why have You rejected {us} forever? Why does Your anger smoke against the sheep of Your pasture?

Psalm 22 My God, my God, why have You forsaken me? Far from my deliverance are the words of my groaning.

These responses were a petition for God’s deliverance. And from this we learn that running from God will only result in emptiness.Yet it was in this emptiness that Ruth was led to belief in a God that would allow this. Naomi’s faith had not wavered here and Ruth had been taking notice all along. This is the reason that Ruth had the confidence to trust Naomi’s God.

Hebrews 12:6 FOR THOSE WHOM THE LORD LOVES HE DISCIPLINES, AND HE SCOURGES EVERY SON WHOM HE RECEIVES.”

Ruth 1:22 So Naomi returned, and with her Ruth the Moabitess, her daughter-in-law, who returned from the land of Moab. And they came to Bethlehem at the beginning of barley harvest.

The barley harvest is the time of Passover. The Passover is a symbol of Jesus’ death and ressurection. The barley harvest, Passover, marks the beginning of God’s blessings on Naomi and Ruth, just as Christ’s death and resurrection is the foundation and the very grace that we have received from above.

Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. {This was} to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; for the demonstration, {I say,} of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

Posted by: Esther | April 22, 2008

Running Away

Ruth 1:1a Now it came about in the days when the judges governed, that there was a famine in the land.

The events in the book of Judges took place about 1380-1050 BC. The book of Ruth, however, is thought to be written sometime after these events and after David became king, since it includes him in the genealogy. Some believe it may have been written around 990BC.

The time of the Judges begins after Joshua’s death when the Israelites request a king to lead them into battle against the Cannanites (Judges 1:1) and ends when Samuel is confirmed as a prophet of the Lord (1 Samuel 3:19, 20). The time is characterized as the period in which the people did not know the Lord, nor the work which He had done for the Israelites. The people did evil in the site of the Lord, and served the idol gods Baal and Asheroth.

Judges 2:10 All that generation also were gathered to their fathers; and there arose another generation after them who did not know the LORD, nor yet the work which He had done for Israel.
Judges 3:7 The sons of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, and forgot the LORD their God and served the Baals and the Asheroth.
Judges 21:25 In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.

There should be no surprise, then, that there was famine in the land.

Lev 26:18-20 ‘If also after these things you do not obey Me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins. ‘I will also break down your pride of power; I will also make your sky like iron and your earth like bronze. ‘Your strength will be spent uselessly, for your land will not yield its produce and the trees of the land will not yield their fruit.

Ruth 1:1b And a certain man of Bethlehem in Judah went to sojourn in the land of Moab with his wife and his two sons.

Bethlehem means “House of Bread” and Judah means “Praise.” If we praise God through our trials, we will receive a bread that will sustain us unto eternity.

John 6:35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.

But instead of staying in the “House of Bread,” this man decided to run from his trials. He ran to the enemy of God’s people. Moabites were Lot’s descendents. They were descendants of an insestuous relationship between Lot and his daughters after being saved from the destruction of Soddom (Genesis 19:30-38). The Moabites were forbidden to enter the house of the Lord because they did not help the Israelites during their pilgrimage from Egypt to Canaan.

Deut. 23:3-4 “No Ammonite or Moabite shall enter the assembly of the LORD; none of their {descendants,} even to the tenth generation, shall ever enter the assembly of the LORD, because they did not meet you with food and water on the way when you came out of Egypt, and because they hired against you Balaam the son of Beor from Pethor of Mesopotamia, to curse you.

Moab even ruled over Israel for 18 years during the time of the Judges (Judges 3:12-13). One might think it absurd to seek help from these people, but how often do we seek help from the world before reaching out to God. When our children are sick, the first thing we do is seek the advice of a doctor, when we should lift the child up in prayer and seek wisdom and council from our Creator first. When we are broke, we seek out governmental programs such as welfare, instead of coming before the Lord broken to receive the bread of life in order to sustain our souls.

Instead of seeking the Lord, this man sought the enemy of the Lord in order to satisfy his hunger. Beware of this temptation. It is the first temptation by Satan which Jesus overcame after fasting 40 days and 40 nights.

Matt. 4:2-4 And after He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He then became hungry. And the tempter came and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE, BUT ON EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD.’ “

Notice that Jesus rebukes Satan with the Word. It is important for us, therefore, to know the Word, in order to resist temptation, which will inevitably come when we are desperate and hungry. Here is a promise to memorize for just those times:

Revelations 21:3-5 And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be {any} death; there will no longer be {any} mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And He *said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.”

Ruth 1:2 The name of the man {was} Elimelech, and the name of his wife, Naomi; and the names of his two sons {were} Mahlon and Chilion, Ephrathites of Bethlehem in Judah. Now they entered the land of Moab and remained there.

Elimelech means “my God is king.” Yet his decision to seek the world in a time of famine suggests just the opposite. Perhaps it is because of a rebellion in Elimelech’s heart that he had two sons named Mahlon which means “sick” and Chilion which means “failing.”

And they remain in Moab, thus the tradgedy begins…

Ruth 1:3 Then Elimelech, Naomi’s husband, died; and she was left with her two sons.

Naomi means “pleasant.” Pleasant was left with Sick and Failing, which is what will happen when we do not seek the Lord for guidance through our trials. But the Lord causes all things to work for the good of those who are called according to His purposes (Romans 8:28).

And we see the good begin in this next verse.

Ruth 1:4 They took for themselves Moabite women {as} wives; the name of the one was Orpah and the name of the other Ruth. And they lived there about ten years.

Granted, the Jews were forbidden to marry Moabite women (Deut. 7:1-11) for they seduced them into immorality and idolatry (Numbers 25), but I believe that Naomi was honoring the Lord in submitting to her husband’s will and following him to Moab. Because of Naomi’s obedience, the Lord rewards her with a daughter-in-law named Ruth, which means “friendship.” Yet, with a friend this time, even more tradgedy occurs.

Ruth 1:5-6 Then both Mahlon and Chilion also died, and the woman was bereft of her two children and her husband. Then she arose with her daughters-in-law that she might return from the land of Moab, for she had heard in the land of Moab that the LORD had visited His people in giving them food.

Sick and Failing die and Naomi can finally hear the Lord. Perhaps this is the meaning of Paul’s council to unmarried women.

1Cor. 7:34 The woman who is unmarried, and the virgin, is concerned about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and spirit; but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how she may please her husband.

Unlike her husband, however, Naomi does not run away from the Lord in this trial, but instead, runs to Him. For she hears that He has visited His people and is giving them food.

John 6:35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.Ruth

Posted by: Esther | April 8, 2008

Outline of Revelation

This information is taken from the New American Standard Bible, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1990, p. 1480-1484.

Outline of Revelation

Author: John the Apostle

Time: A.D. 95-96

Location: Written on the Island of Patmos

Part One: “The Things Which You Have Seen” (1:1-20)

I. Introduction 1:1-8

II. Revelation of Christ 1:9-20

Part Two: “The Things Which Are” (2:1-3:22)

I. Message to Ephesus 2:1-7

II. Message to Smyrna 2:8-11

III. Message to Pergamum 2:12-17

IV. Message to Thyatira 2:18-29

V. Message to Sardis 3:1-6

VI. Message to Philadelphia 3:7-13

VII. Message to Laodicea 3:14-22

Part Three: “The Things Which Shall Take Place” (4:1-22:21)

I. Person of the Judge 4:1-5:1

A. The Throne of God 4:1-11

B. The Sealed Book 5:1-14

II. Prophecies of Tribulation 6:1-19:6

A. Seven Seals of Judgment 6:1-8:5

  1. First Seal 6:1; 2
  2. Second Seal 6:3, 4
  3. Third Seal 6:5, 6
  4. Fourth Seal 6:7, 8
  5. Fifth Seal 6:9-11
  6. Sixth Seal 6:12-17
  7. 144,000 Jews 7:1-8
  8. Great Multitudes of Gentiles 7:9-17
  9. Seventh Seal 8:1-5

B. Seven Trumpets of Judgment 8:6-11:19

  1. First Trumpet 8:6, 7
  2. Second Trumpet 8:8, 9
  3. Third Trumpet 8:10, 11
  4. Fourth Trumpet 8:12, 13
  5. Fifth Trumpet 9:1-12
  6. Sixth Trumpet 9:13-21
  7. Little Book 10:1-11
  8. Two Witnesses 11:1-14
  9. Seventh Trumpet 11:15-19

C. Explanatory Prophecies 12:1-14:20

  1. The Woman 12:1-6
  2. The War in Heaven 12:7-12
  3. The War on Earth 12:13-17
  4. The Beast Out of the Sea 13:1-10
  5. The Beast Out of the Earth 13:11-18
  6. The 144,000 14:1-5
  7. The Three Angel’s Announcements 14:6-13
  8. The Harvest Judgment 14:14-20

D. Seven Bowls of Judgement 15:1-19:6

  1. Preparation for the Bowl Judgement 15:1-8
  2. First Bowl 16:1, 2
  3. Second Bowl 16:3
  4. Third Bowl 16:4-7
  5. Fourth Bowl 16:8, 9
  6. Fifth Bowl 16:10, 11
  7. Sixth Bowl 16:12-16
  8. Seventh Bowl 16:17-21
  9. Overthrow of the Great Harlot 17:1-18

a. Great Harlot is Described 17:1-6

b. Great Harlot is Destroyed 17:7-18

10. Overthrow of Babylon the Great 18:1-19:6

a. Babylon the Great is Destroyed 18:1-8
b. Earth Mourns Babylon’s Destruction 18:9-19
c. Heaven Rejoices Babylon’s Destruction 18:20-19:6

III. Prophecies of the Second Coming 19:7-21

A. Marriage Supper of the Lamb 19:7-10
B. Second Coming of Christ 19:11-21

IV. Prophecies of the Millennium 20:1-15

A. Satan is Bound 1,000 Years 20:1-3
B. Saints Reign 1,000 Years 20:4-6
C. Satan is Released and Leads Rebellion 20:7-9
D. Satan is Tormented Forever 20:10
E. Great White Throne Judgement 20:11-15

V. Prophecies of the Eternal State 21:1-22:5

A. New Heaven and Earth Are Created 21:1
B. New Jerusalem Descends 21:2-8
C. New Jerusalem is Described 21:9-22:5

VI. Conclusion 22:6-21

Posted by: Esther | January 30, 2008

Is the Lord’s Presence in Our Lives Obvious to Others?

Reading Genesis chapter 39, I am awed by the authority that is given to Joseph in each circumstance in which he finds himself.

Genesis 39:1-6: Now Joseph had been taken down to Egypt; and Potiphar, an Egyptian officer of Pharaoh, the captain of the bodyguard, bought him from the Ishmaelites, who had taken him down there. The LORD was with Joseph, so he became a successful man. And he was in the house of his master, the Egyptian. Now his master saw that the LORD was with him and {how} the LORD caused all that he did to prosper in his hand. So Joseph found favor in his sight and became his personal servant; and he made him overseer over his house, and all that he owned he put in his charge. It came about that from the time he made him overseer in his house and over all that he owned, the LORD blessed the Egyptian’s house on account of Joseph; thus the LORD’S blessing was upon all that he owned, in the house and in the field. So he left everything he owned in Joseph’s charge; and with him {there} he did not concern himself with anything except the food which he ate. Now Joseph was handsome in form and appearance.

An incident happens between Joseph and Potiphar’s wife and Joseph is thrown in jail, but even there he is given uncanny authority.

Genesis 39:21 But the LORD was with Joseph and extended kindness to him, and gave him favor in the sight of the chief jailer. The chief jailer committed to Joseph’s charge all the prisoners who were in the jail; so that whatever was done there, he was responsible {for it.} The chief jailer did not supervise anything under Joseph’s charge because the LORD was with him; and whatever he did, the LORD made to prosper.

It is obvious to the powers in Joseph’s life that the Lord was with him, so they gave him authority over everything they had. What exactly was it that they saw in him? In examining Joseph’s character, I found that he possessed 4 exceptional qualities that would prove trustworthiness to any man.

1. Contentment

First Joseph is sold as a slave and then he is innocently thrown into prison and there is not a single mention of a complaint from him. And God’s word is not above exposing character flaws in the men he uses; remember when Abraham lied twice about his wife Sarah, and when Jacob deceived his father for Esau’s birthright. I am sure that if Joseph showed any signed of discontentment, God would have shown us. But there isn’t. How many of us are complaining in the situation we are in right now? “I hate this job.” “Why am I here?” “I should be the boss of this company. I am more qualified than he.” “Surely God has more for me!” Not Joseph. He goes from chief of the field to slave. He was given dreams of grandeur then thrown in prison. And not a single complaint is uttered from his mouth or even shown in his character. He was truly content in the situations in which God had placed him.

1 Timothy 6:6 But godliness {actually} is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment.

The Apostle Paul sheds some light on exactly how to achieve contentment and it is not by our own strength.

Phillipians 4:11-13 Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.

The author of the book of Hebrews gives us encouragement God’s promise:

Hebrews 13:5-6 {Make sure that} your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, “I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU,” so that we confidently say, “THE LORD IS MY HELPER, I WILL NOT BE AFRAID. WHAT WILL MAN DO TO ME?”

2. Integrity

The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia defines integrity as simplicity, or sincerity of heart and intention, truthfulness, uprightness.

The way that Joseph handled Potiphar’s wife shows integrity. If he had been bitter or discontent in any way about the fact that he was a slave, Joseph may have given in to Potiphar’s wife and her request. But Joseph was serving Potiphar with the utmost integrity, sincerity of heart and truthfulness as shown in the way he avoided her. The Bible tells us that those who practice integrity will be preserved in their reputation on earth and guided unto eternal life.

Psalm 25:21 Let integrity and uprightness preserve me, For I wait for You.

Proverb 11:3 The integrity of the upright will guide them, But the crookedness of the treacherous will destroy them.

Proverbs 19:1 Better is a poor man who walks in his integrity Than he who is perverse in speech and is a fool.

Proverbs 20:7 A righteous man who walks in his integrity– How blessed are his sons after him.

These truths are seen in Joseph’s life.

3. Avoids Sin

Potiphar’s wife was persistent. She didn’t just try once to lead Joseph into her adulteress lair. But Joseph avoided her, would not listen to her and even fled from her.

Genesis 39:10 As she spoke to Joseph day after day, he did not listen to her to lie beside her {or} be with her.

Genesis 39:12 She caught him by his garment, saying, “Lie with me!” And he left his garment in her hand and fled, and went outside.

Joseph’s response toward Potiphar’s plea is the very example of the advice given to us throughout the Bible.

2 Timothy 2:22 Now flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love {and} peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.

1 Corinthians 6:18 Flee immorality. Every {other} sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body.

1 Corinthians 10:14 Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.

1 Corinthians 6:10-11 For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. But flee from these things, you man of God, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance {and} gentleness.

4. Fears the Lord

This probably should be number one, but since it is easier to remember the last thing you read, I will put it here. This quality is also the foundation to the first three and so is best last, acting as the support to the others.

Joseph shows his fear of the Lord throughout his story, but specifically in this chapter, when he is explaining to Potiphar’s wife the reason that he cannot comply.

Genesis 39:9 “There is no one greater in this house than I, and he has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do this great evil and sin against God?”

Joseph explains that it is God he fears the most, not Potiphar. Sinning against God is what he wanted to avoid. Joseph’s fear of the Lord is the very reason that he avoids this sin, it is the reason he acts with integrity even as a slave and the reason that he is content in the most humble of situations.

Remember that it is the fear of the Lord that is the beginning of knowledge (Proverbs 1:7). And it is to us that the message of salvation has been sent (Acts 13:26).

Proverbs 14:2 He who walks in his uprightness fears the LORD, But he who is devious in his ways despises Him.

In light of this, we must ask ourselves if the Lord’s presence in our lives is obvious to others. How will we know? Well, Joseph was given authority over everything Potiphar and the jailer had. What have you been given authority over and how are you handling this authority? I have been given authority over children, money, and a house. Am I complaining because I feel that I deserve to be the head of the children’s ministry at church or the director of a school, or am I content with the three children I have been given to raise up according to His way? Am I raising these children sincerely, not grudgingly? Am I showing integrity, truthfulness an uprightness when handling our finances and taking care of our house? Am I avoiding sin in all areas of my life so that I am a proper model for my children? But most of all, do I fear the Lord, for this is the only way that I will be able to overcome my fleshly desire to complain, envy, cheat, steal and lie. My husband trusts me enough to let me homeschool our children. He knows that I will teach them about the Lord. My husband has given me authority over the money that he makes, because he knows and has observed that I will spend it wisely and make it last. My husband has given me authority over the house that he bought, because he knows that I will take care of it and keep it clean. Just as Joseph only answered to Potiphar or the chief jailer and ultimately Pharaoh himself, I only answer to my husband; and just as Joseph, I also answer to God. I fear Him and give Him the glory for all that I have. The Lord has put an authority over each one of us, but the question is, “How much authority is that person giving us?” If it is not much, examine your heart, your words and your actions. Fear the Lord and seek Him first. Then more will be given to you.

Joseph lived Jesus’ very words:

Matthew 6:24-25 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any [man] will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.

Posted by: Esther | January 15, 2008

Attributes of a Woman

In Debi Pearl’s book, Created to be His Help Meet, Pearl lists 5 words or traits which she suggests to locate in scripture, write the verses and ask God to work each of the attributes into our character. Following is the list of words, where I have found each in scripture, and how they pertain to a woman’s character.

1. Virtue

According to the Strong’s Concordance and Vine’s Dictionary, the New Testament use of the word virtue refers to excellence. The Old Testament use of the word refers to a woman’s ability and in some cases represents her domestic skills. It is the Old Testament use of the word that pertains mostly to women, so I will list those scriptures below.

Ruth 3:11 And now, my daughter, fear not; I will do to thee all that thou requirest: for all the city of my people doth know that thou [art] a virtuous woman.

This was told to Ruth by Boaz when he found her laying at his feet. Ruth was found to be virtuous, able to care and provide food for her mother-in-law while a foreigner in a town whose people would act highly racist toward her.

Proverbs 12:4 A virtuous woman [is] a crown to her husband: but she that maketh ashamed [is] as rottenness in his bones.

Proverbs 31:10 Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price [is] far above rubies.

2. Graciousness

Vine defines gracious, for our purpose, as pleasant and agreeable.

Proverbs 11:16 A gracious woman retaineth honour: and strong [men] retain riches.

3. Wisdom

Proverbs 31:26 She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue [is] the law of kindness.

This of course refers to the infamous Proverbs 31 woman.

4. Prudent

To be prudent is synonymous with acting wisely, according to the Vine.

Proverbs 19:14 House and riches [are] the inheritance of fathers: and a prudent wife [is] from the LORD.

5. Goodness

All verses I read with goodness refer to the God’s goodness in the widest sense of the word which would include traits 1-4 along with fairness, beauty, justice, etc. I could not find a scripture that specifically related to women.

Prayer

Heavenly Father, bless me with the attributes of a woman that will make my husband complete and full in being and in the tasks that you have given him to do. Bless me with virtue as you blessed Ruth, so that my husband will be honored and so to honor You, even in the face of opposition. May I be a crown to my husband; a prudent wife as a gift from You to him. May I be gracious and wise in all that you give me to do. Bless me with your goodness to be the help meet to my husband, which you have created me to be. In Jesus’ name. Amen

Posted by: Esther | January 9, 2008

His Help Meet

Well I am taking a little detour from the Genesis study, but I will get back to it. I am reading Created to Be His Help Meet, by Debi Pearl. It is fabulous so far and so contrary to how I was raised. I was raised to be a feminist. I was not taught how to cook or clean, because the plan was not that I become a house wife, but some kind of carrier woman. Preferably a doctor or lawyer, but they settled for teacher. Now I find myself in this predicament of having to teach myself how to cook and care for a family; how to be a descent housewife. Not because I have some chauvinist husband who is keeping me barefoot and pregnant (those of you who know him are laughing), but because this is the situation the Lord has put me into, my choice, and the place that best helps him and honors God.

Here are some scriptures that support the role of woman as a man’s help meet:

Genesis 2:18 And the LORD God said, [It is] not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.

Proverbs 18:22 [Whoso] findeth a wife findeth a good [thing], and obtaineth favour of the LORD.

Pearl explains that we are created to fill a need; equipped in every way to be our man’s helper; created to make him complete, not to seek personal fulfillment parallel to him. She writes, “A woman trying to function like a man is as ridiculous as a man trying to be like a woman.” Ooooh! My feminist flesh flinches, but my spirit is at complete peace with this and I am overall intrigued and desire to be this help meet for my husband.

1 Corinthians 11:8-9 For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man. Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.

1 Corinthians 7:34 but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please [her] husband.

Pearl writes, “It is not a question of whether or not you can do a better job than he; it is a matter of doing what you were designed to do.” “Her readiness to please motivated her to look around and see the things she knows her husband would like to see done.” “It is our job to learn how we can help our husbands in every way possible.”

She goes on to write that our first calling is to be of service to our husbands, then our children, and when time affords, our passion of service will spill over to serving others (screeching of tires sound in my head). Head spins around to catch that again…”My first calling is to be of service to my husband?” I believe my first calling is to be of service to God, however in our service to God, we will realize that our service to our husbands is meet and should be the most important meet as it was designed for us to be. So I am in agreement with the overall message of what she is explaining.

In my next blog, I will go over the attributes of a woman according to scripture. And I plan to squeeze in another blog about Joseph as well, God willing!

Posted by: Esther | December 8, 2007

Grace Conceived Through Sin

When a jeweler displays a diamond, he does so against a black background in order to show the purity of the jewel. So we can also look at Genesis chapter 38 as the black back drop for the pure qualities that are seen in the life of Joseph. This is a story of the immorality that existed among the sons of Israel, esp. in Judah, yet it is also a picture of the reason for our need of a savior and our need for His grace.

Read More…

Posted by: Esther | November 21, 2007

Joseph: A Picture of Jesus

As I read through Genesis chapter 37, I was amazed at the many different ways that Joseph is a picture of Jesus Christ. And Genesis 37 is just the beginning of his story. Following, I will list the pictures of Jesus shown through His servant Joseph.

Read More…

Posted by: Esther | November 7, 2007

Filling the Void Within

How many of us think that if we just had “that” all of our problems would go away. We will finally be happy and content. If only I had a million dollars… If only I had that car, or that house… If only I had a child…

This was precisely Rachel’s attitude. In Genesis chapter 30:1 Rachel saw that she couldn’t have any children by Jacob. So she becomes jealous of her sister, and turns to Jacob and says, “Give me children or I’ll die!”

Read More…

Posted by: Esther | October 31, 2007

Burying Our Sins

In the book of Genesis chapter 35, Jacob and his family are found breaking God’s first and second commandments:

Exodus 20:3-6 “You shall have no other gods before Me. “You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. “You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing loving kindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.

These commandments, however, are written on Jacob’s heart (passed down as an example from his father and grandfather); for Moses had not yet been born to receive the stone tablets on Mt. Sinai.

As we look at this chapter in Genesis, we will see how God’s calling convicts Jacob to bury his sins as a picture of Jesus. I suggest reading all of Genesis chapter 35 and Romans chapter 6 in order to follow along in this examination of the Word as Light.

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Posted by: Esther | October 21, 2007

Facing the World

After Jacob made peace with Esau, he camped before the city of Shechem (Genesis 33:18). He bought a piece of land from Hamor, the ruler. As you read through Genesis chapter 34, you will see that this city was a carnal and evil place, not a place you want to be facing, especially while raising a family.

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Posted by: Esther | October 20, 2007

Potty Training the Strongest Willed Child

A good friend of mine said that God gave me Isaiah so that I wouldn’t judge other parents. As a confession of my heart I see this to be true.

Read More…

Posted by: Esther | October 18, 2007

The Gift of Forgiveness

The Gift of Forgiveness

Jacob’s Sin Against Esau

In chapter 27 of the book of Genesis, Jacob sinned against Esau by stealing his birthright.

Genesis 27:30-34 Now it happened, as soon as Isaac had finished blessing Jacob, and Jacob had scarcely gone out from the presence of Isaac his father, that Esau his brother came in from his hunting. He also had made savory food, and brought it to his father, and said to his father, “Let my father arise and eat of his son’s game, that your soul may bless me.” And his father Isaac said to him, “Who are you?” So he said, “I am your son, your firstborn, Esau. Then Isaac trembled exceedingly, and said, “Who? Where is the one who hunted game and brought it to me? I ate all of it before you came, and I have blessed him–and indeed he shall be blessed.” When Esau heard the words of his father, he cried with an exceedingly great and bitter cry, and said to his father, “Bless me–me also, O my father!”

Read More…

Posted by: Esther | October 18, 2007

The Struggle to Confess

The Struggle to Confess and Repent

 

 

Before the Struggle:

 

Jacob was born grabbing the heal of his twin brother Esau, as his name suggests. While in their mother’s womb, Jacob and Esau were causing such a ruckus, struggling with each other, that Rebekah (their mother) sought the Lord’s council. The Lord told her that two nations were inside her womb; one nation will be stronger than the other, and the older son will serve the younger one (Genesis 25:22-23). As the story continues, Esau sells his birthright to his brother, Jacob, for a bowl of soup (Genesis 25: 29-34). Jacob continues to live up to his name by tricking his father, Isaac, into giving him his brother’s blessing (Genesis 27). Jacob is then sent to his mother’s home town, Haran, to find a wife, as well as to create distance between him and the wrath of his brother, Esau. Twenty years later, God tells Jacob to return home with his abundance of blessings accumulated during his stay in Haran, including livestock and children. On his way, he finds himself alone, on one side of a ford, struggling with God. The story goes as follows:

 

The Struggle:

 

Genesis 32:22-30   Now he arose that same night and took his two wives and his two maids and his eleven children, and crossed the ford of the Jabbok.  He took them and sent them across the stream. And he sent across whatever he had.  Then Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him until daybreak. When he saw that he had not prevailed against him, he touched the socket of his thigh; so the socket of Jacob’s thigh was dislocated while he wrestled with him. Then he said, “Let me go, for the dawn is breaking.” But he said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” So he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.”  He said, “Your name shall no longer be Jacob, but Israel; for you have striven with God and with men and have prevailed.” Then Jacob asked him and said, “Please tell me your name.” But he said, “Why is it that you ask my name?” And he blessed him there.  So Jacob named the place Peniel, for {he said,} “I have seen God face to face, yet my life has been preserved.”  Now the sun rose upon him just as he crossed over Penuel, and he was limping on his thigh.

 

This is Jacobs’s second encounter with God. The first encounter took place on his way to Haran. During this encounter, Jacob dreamed of a ladder that ascended to God. God gave him the promises he gave to his grandfather Abraham and Jacob believed (see blog), and we get the picture that he almost ran to Haran in joy.

 

During this second encounter with God, Jacob wrestles until daybreak and will not give up. He will not repent. He will not confess his sins. He will not let God win, so God has to dislocate his hip.

 

A Sorrow that Leads to Repentance:

 

2 Corinthians 7:10  For the sorrow that is according to {the will} {of} God produces a repentance without regret, {leading} to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death.

 

It was the will of God to produce sorrow in Jacob that would lead him to repentance. Jacob could no longer run. He was humbled to a limp. And now God has the upper hand.

 

Isaiah 59:2  “But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.”

 

Luke 13:5 “I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”

 

A New Name; A New Life:

 

God says, “It is morning, let me go.”(Gen. 32:26)

“I won’t let you go until you bless me.”

“What is your name?” (27) In other words, I won’t bless you until you confess. Admit your name. Admit that you are a heal grabber, deceiver, sinner.

 

 

It wasn’t until Jacob confessed that he was blessed. And what a struggle it was to get him there. All night long, he struggled with God. Are you struggling with God? Unless we repent, we will perish. How long must He struggle with you? Tell him who you are. Confess your sins, before he humbles you so that you can no longer run.

 

Acts 3:19  “Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord;

 

It wasn’t until Jacob admitted who he was, a sinner/deceiver, that he received a new name. Likewise when we repent and turn to the Lord, we will also receive a new life in Christ.

 

 2 Corinthians 5:17  “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”

 

Jacob believed God after his first encounter with Him and now, after his second encounter, the struggle, he submits to God. Likewise once we believe, we struggle to let go of who we were. Let it go and let Christ in. Confess your sins, turn to God and receive a new name and a new life in Him.

Posted by: Esther | October 18, 2007

The Ladder

The Ladder

When Jacob was running from the threats of his brother Esau, he laid his head on a rock and had a dream.

 

“He had a dream in which he saw a ladder resting in the earth, with its top reaching into heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. There above it stood the Lord…” Genesis 28:12-13

 

A few thousand years later, Jesus went to Galilee and told Philip to follow Him. Philip found Nathaneal and told him that he had found the one Moses wrote about in the Law. Nathaneal was skeptical about anything good coming out of Nazareth, but was soon convinced after Jesus told him that he saw Nathaneal under the fig tree.

 

Then Jesus added, “I tell you the truth, you shall see heaven open and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.” John 1:51

 

Angels ascending and descending on a ladder, on the Son of Man, on Jesus… Jesus is the ladder. And who is at the top of that ladder? Our heavenly Father!

Jesus is our access to our heavenly Father.

 

How? Paul explains in Romans 5:6-11 that when we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. Now, no one is likely to die for a good person, though someone might be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s judgment. For since we were restored to friendship with God by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be delivered from eternal punishment by his life. So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God-all because of what our Lord Jesus Christ has done for us in making us friends of God.

 

And because of God’s grace, there are only two steps on this ladder.

 

Step one – Confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord

Step two – Believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead.

 

That’s it! Two steps!

 

For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. As the Scripture says, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile–the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. Romans 10:9-13

 

Have you ascended up those two little steps and met your Heavenly Father? If you have done this for the first time today please let us know. We will lift you up in prayer to resist the temptations in this world.

 

 

 

 

Posted by: Esther | October 18, 2007

Blessing our Children

Blessing our Children

 

A model for how to bless our children was shown to us when Isaac blessed Esau (Jacob in disguise). This tradition is continued by Orthodox Jews today and should not be overlooked by us Believers. Genesis chapter 27:26-37 outlines four steps to use when blessing our children.

 

The Touch

Isaac shows us that every blessing should begin with a touch.

Gen 27:26 – Then his father Isaac said to him, “Come near now and kiss me, my son.”

27And he came near and kissed him;…

Even Jesus shows us that touch is necessary when blessing our children.

Mar 10:13 they brought young children to him, that he should touch them:

Mar 10:16 And he took them up in his arms, put [his] hands upon them, and blessed them.

 

It is through touch that we receive the blessing of the Holy Spirit.

Act 8:17 Then laid they [their] hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.

Acts 9:17 And Ananias went his way and entered the house; and laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you came, has sent me that you may receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”

 

Acknowledge your Child’s Strengths

Gen 27:27(b) and he smelled the smell of his clothing, and blessed him and said:

 

Surely, the smell of my son

Is like the smell of a field

Which the LORD has blessed.

 

Isaac knew that Esau was a hunter, a man of the field, and he acknowledges this about his son. It is imperative that we know the strengths that the Lord has given our children. You may see a musical talent in your child or a willingness to help. Your child may be a natural peacemaker or nature lover. These qualities must be acknowledged, for they are the qualities with which the Lord has already blessed in your child.

 

 

Know God’s Destination for your Child

Isaac knew God’s destination for Jacob.

Gen 27:28 – Therefore may God give you

Of the dew of heaven,

Of the fatness of the earth,

And plenty of grain and wine.

Gen 27:29 Let peoples serve you,

And nations bow down to you.

Be master over your brethren,

And let your mother’s sons bow down to you.

Cursed be everyone who curses you,

And blessed be those who bless you!”

 

How can we know God’s destination for our child? We know through prayer, constant communion with the Lord, and the reading of the Word. As you pray for your child, as you lay your hands on your child, as you acknowledge your child’s strengths and the gifts God has already given him, He will show you what your child is destined to become. Speak this destination and blessing to your child as Isaac did to Jacob.

 

Commit to the Blessing

When Isaac realized that he had been tricked by his youngest son Jacob, he did not take back the blessing.

Gen 27:35 – But he said, “Your brother came with deceit and has taken away your blessing.” 36And Esau said, “Is he not rightly named Jacob? For he has supplanted me these two times. He took away my birthright, and now look, he has taken away my blessing!” And he said, “Have you not reserved a blessing for me?” 37 Then Isaac answered and said to Esau, “Indeed I have made him your master, and all his brethren I have given to him as servants; with grain and wine I have sustained him…

 

The Lord had given Isaac the “fat of the land” and he was committed to giving all he had to Jacob and ensure his blessing was fulfilled.

 

Commit to the blessing you have given your child. If you see your child as a doctor, commit to his schooling and understanding of the human body. If you see your child as a musician, commit to those music lessons. If you see your child as a family man or woman, commit to being a role model of respect and surround him or her with those who value the family. And remember that the blessing and our commitment to it needs continued prayer and guidance from our heavenly Father who blessed his own Son with the Kingdom of Heaven.

 

 

 

 

Posted by: Esther | October 4, 2007

A Picture of Meekness

A Picture of Meekness

To be meek is not something you hear taught in our “American” culture these days. In fact, unless you are an avid Bible studier, you probably don’t even know what the word means. Those of us who are serious about following the will of the Lord need to know what this word means and how to apply it to our every day lives.

Webster’s dictionary definition: meek – humbly patient or docile, as under provocation from others.

Matthew 5:5 (KJV) Blessed [are] the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

 

(NLT) God blesses those who are gentle and lowly, for the whole earth will belong to them.

(NIrV) Blessed are those who are free of pride. They will be given the earth.

Matthew 5:38 (NIV) 38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ [fn7] 39 But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40 And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. 41 If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. 42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.

 

To be humble, to turn the other cheek, to give to everyone who asks even more than they ask for, to be lowly, to be free of pride…sure you have heard these ideas taught, sure you know that Jesus said to do this, but Really! In today’s society, do you? Are you? I don’t know anyone who would not stand their ground if provoked unjustly. Let’s look at an Old Testament picture of meekness.

 

Abraham’s promised son Isaac showed meekness in several situations.

Genesis 21:9 – Isaac’s half brother Ishmael teases Isaac. Does Isaac tease back or stand up for himself? We would assume no, since it is not mentioned.

 

Genensis 22 – At 30 years of age, Isaac is tied to an altar to be sacrificed to God by his father Abraham. Does Abraham fight his father? No. He humbly submits. Don’t know that I would have.

 

Genesis 24 – Isaac’s father sends his servant to find for Isaac a bride. Does Isaac question his father about the bride he has never met? No.

Genesis 26: 1-11 – Following in his father’s footsteps, Isaac lies to Abimelech about his wife, saying that she is his sister. When Abilmelech discovers the truth and confronts Isaac, does Isaac continue to lie or defend himself? No. He immediately confesses.

Genesis 26: 18-30 – When Abimelech’s servants stop up the wells that Isaac’s father dug and claim that they belong to Abimelech, does Isaac defend these wells that are rightfully his? Does he stand his ground? No. He simply moves on until he finds a well that no one argues for.

 

This picture of meekness shown by Isaac is not something that we “Americans” would value as a strong quality that we would want our children to possess. However, there is a reward for this type of behavior….

Genesis 26:12-14 Isaac planted crops in that land and the same year reaped a hundredfold, because the Lord blessed him. 13 The man became rich, and his wealth continued to grow until he became very wealthy. 14 He had so many flocks and herds and servants that the Philistines envied him.

This is not to say that strife did not follow, bit Isaac’s meek personality continued in the strife and he found water, Genesis 26:32.

So I challenge all of you to be a picture of meekness, to teach it and be an example of it to your children. Sure this goes completely against our cultural values and worldly ways…sure it is completely contrary to the way your flesh wants to react in unjust situations, but like Isaac, if you are meek in your trials, you will be blessed with riches that will not burn up in the fire and you too will find refreshing, empowering, living water.

 

Share with me ways that you have been meek and how you have experienced God’s blessing. Share the strife, share the conflict within, share the outcome, and share the reward. With this we will all be encouraged to continue on our walk with the Lord.

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