Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Reading Road Signs

Esther 6:11 So Haman got the robe and the horse. He robed Mordecai, and led him on horseback through the city streets, proclaiming before him, "This is what is done for the man the king delights to honor!"

He read right.
In Esther 6 and Luke 4, it is pointed out the two kings were found to be reading (or read to), literally, the story of their lives. After the reading, both men made proclamations to be fulfilled according to their reading - King Xerxes to have a man honored, King Jesus to have Prophecy fulfilled. Proclamations following these revelations were central in "setting captives free." This catalyst of chronicles in the lives of both kings was immediately preceded by days of intense sacrifice and submission to God: the Jewish people fasted and prayed for 3 days; Jesus fasted and prayed for 40 days. Fasting, Prayer, Word, Deliverance. A model for deliverance in me.

He read wrong.
Esther 6:6 When Haman entered, the king asked him, "What should be done for the man the king delights to honor?" Now Haman thought to himself, "Who is there that the king would rather honor than me?" We quickly condemn Haman's haughtiness of his own honor. I am more convicted by his haunting in my own mirror. Haman's conclusions of his world led to the presumption his words - immediately to be eaten in the presence of his enemy. Look at it from his perch on the pedestal. He was correct in his facts: there was no one above him and he had no reason to believe that anyone else would be honored besides him. Had we not had the complete story, we might have been blindsided as well. Oh, how this illustrates my life far too many times. Proverbs 3:5-6 says to trust the LORD with all of our heart and lean not on our understanding. Do I trust my heart or mind? I take the facts of life and expect the most logical outcome: "I have a great resume, I will get a great job; I am favored by my boss, I will get a raise; Kids definitely love me, I will certainly have my own; I have a great personality, I will never feel alone...etc., etc." I, I, I....all based on what I see (which is fact), not WHO I serve (which is Reality). Who do I love, Who do I honor, Whose words do I speak and Whose heart do I reflect?? These are crucial questions of momentary reality more than abstract theology. Especially when the moment is white hot.

They read rescue.
The "signs of salvation" - Riders Mordecai and Jesus.

Insert Luke 22:7 When they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks over it, he sat on it.

Deliverance was on their minds.
In both cases, Passover was near. Either the Jewish people had just observed (Esther 3:12) or were about to observe (Luke 22) their highest day of remembering their deliverance by God's hand. In both cases, this was a day desperate for deliverance.

Salvation was in their cry.
One going from ridicule and sackcloth to the king's praise and finery:
Esther 6:11 "This is what is done for the man the king delights to honor!"

One going from praise and honor to ridicule and stripes:
Mark 11: 9 Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted, "Hosanna!" "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!" 10"Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!" "Hosanna in the highest!"

In both cases, the Jewish people certainly saw one person: their knight in shining armour; their king in salvation's announcement. THIS IS THE ONE who the KING delights in (as the Father has spoken of His delight over is Son). "Hosanna" - literally translated from the Greek: The , means "Save us, we beseech thee." One Dictionary translation is: hosanna interj. hallelujah! (used to express praise and adoration to God); deliver!, save me! (request for God's deliverance) n. shout of praise to God, appeal to God for deliverance.

Royalty was in their sights.
Both men went from riding in the streets, to the king's side (Esther 9:4, Hebrews 12:2) - all because they obeyed God, honored God, loved God, worshiped God; all under looming death. Mordecai rode the king's steed. Jesus will ride His own steed into Jerusalem again as King of Kings and LORD of Lords - no one ever before or after Him.

Who is your true knight, your true king, your true savior? Who do you see and believe? Who do you praise and honor? Who do you trust and love? Who are you reading now?

Enjoy Him, Michelle

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Heavenly Days

Every moment shapes my life one way or another. God is the Designer; I am the builder. Either I read His Plans and listen to His Purpose, or by default, my life will take shape according to my own faults and flaws. As we breathe, each moment is desired by God to build palaces to live in, not pyramids to leave behind.

I keep hearing, again and again and again, of very extreme living conditions. Health failing in ourselves or those closest to us. Finances failing and collapsing all around us. Relationships on the rocks, to put it mildly. These aren't headlines, these are everyday lives of very dear friends. This is their everyday, every moment reality. Yet in those very storms of life, I hear of God moving in the most meaningful ways - not just placing money in an account or having a spouse's temper simply cease, but His moving in the intimate moments in between lightening strikes and hail pelting; His moving heaven in the heart while we breathe the air of earth.

We may not feel extraordinary in a life that pounds us into a shape, but how we feel never change who we are. The darker the night, the more obvious the light. Mindset constant in mood changes; perspective of present circumstances. Our days may seem out of control, but not our God. He is the One who makes our lives EXTRAORDINARY; not just WHEN we see Him or experience Him, but constantly, as we are His Royalty. A queen visiting a village in disguise never changes her person when her surroundings and appearance change. Our destiny remains, we simply choose to participate in our amazing lives to the fullest, or to allow our shifting worlds to shape who we are. We are extraordinary people living in trying times with one choice - to remain in Him or remove from Him; therefore, to have a heavenly perspective on our earthly moments.

Do not be disillusioned, but see today for what it really is: maybe average, awesome, or atrocious. But also do not be deceived and see God for Who He Is: He is the amazing Author of Life and LIVES as an all surpassing power in this clay jar (2 Cor. 4:7)
"Christ Jesus came to make you more than just fine. You were not called to just feel average, be average, and do average. It is to your Father's glory that you bear much fruit showing yourself to be Christ 's disciple. It is huge! All-surpassing power!

Because Christ is meant to be our delight, our joy of living. He is the bridegroom for crying out loud. He is the dance of life. He is saying, there are moments -- there are moments when it is understandable that you're fine but I've got more for you than that. I want you to delight yourself in Me." - Beth Moore

A review on Brennan Manning's powerful book, Abbas Child, paraphrases "the moments" of our lives as this:

Once we experience this present risenness of Christ we become convinced that life is not, and cannot be, meaningless. A keen insight is seeing that Christ is risen and present now in our lives. Not just an event in the past, or a glorious future occurrence (the second coming). This is crucial, because it changes how we view our savior. “Here and now” is more powerful and more relevant to our daily living. Or, as the author put it, “faith in the present risenness of Jesus carries with it life-changing implications for the gritty routine of daily life”. For in seeing Jesus resurrected and alive in our lives, even this very day, reminds us that God is truly with us.

Enjoy Him, Michelle

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Captive Audience

2 Timothy 2:24-26 And the Lord's servant must not quarrel; instead, he
must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.

Stockholm syndrome is a psychological response sometimes seen in abducted hostages, in which the hostage shows signs of loyalty to the hostage-taker, regardless of the danger or risk in which they have been placed.

Do you know any "happy captives?" Anyone is not under the freedom of Christ's Redemption is a captive, according to 2 Tim 2:26. Often they seem to be ignorant and/or quite happy with their captivity ("The greatest trick the devil ever pulled with convincing the world that he didn't exist"-The Usual Suspects) They are basically under "spiritual stockholm syndrome" and not only are they happy with their captivity, they will adamantly defend it.

I met one of those people last week via an online blog session. In short, he called me and any other believer ignorant, insane, and mentally ill for believing that the Bible is the actual Word of God. In one instance, he accused Christians of "cherrypicking the Bible," but only wanted to focus on selected passages in his discussions. In other words, he presented a huge double standard, by demanding that people get out of their "narrow-minded box" while at the same time absolutely refusing to look at Scripture in a COMPLETE context. As I repeated that there is more to God than a few chosen lines of Scripture, this man repeated his mantra that he did not believe Scripture as the Word of God. I was saddened by this man's anger towards Scripture and tightening bonds of his captivity. His choice to stay in bondage fueled by Scripture screamed at him in anger and not in love. He sees God as a threat instead of the Truth.

We all fall short and Scripture applies in conviction and salvation to every heart. Transformation for each one comes in the Presence of Truth alone. If there is no Truth, there is no Transformation. While we live here in Babylon, we who are a chosen priesthood are to know the Word and speak the Word so that the Savior Himself may lead them home to His city.

The one thing that this man mocked, but did not argue with, was this proclamation from another sister of ours: "The truth is that Yeshua is the Messiah and EVERY TONGUE WILL CONFESS AND EVERY KNEE WILL BOW. When you take your last breath and you face eternity will KNOW that what Yeshua did on that cross is the only atonement for our sin. He IS our only hope. He IS worthy of all praise. Hallelujah! Glory to the Lamb of Yahweh forever and ever!"

I was once again convicted by this simple truth of victory and freedom: Praise of the LORD shuts the mouth of the enemy. Humbled and abandoned before Him, He is the Author and Advocate of His Truth and Love the Revelation of Truth in and through me.

Psalm 63

Enjoy Him, Michelle

A Tale of Two Tables

Esther 3:13 "Letters were sent by couriers to all the king's provinces to destroy, to kill and to annihilate all the Jews, both young and old, women and children, in one day, the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month Adar..."

As I read more and more of the hatred and intolerance toward the Jewish people in the Persian empire, I realize that we cannot even fathom such an anger and atrocity - not even by today's terrorists or torturers. By the way, the name "Hamas" - the present day terrorists that vow to wipe the nation of Israel off the face of the map - did continue to come to mind again and again while reading of the hatred of Haman, a man with power to charge death upon a people as he pleased. Sounded far too familiar to the reality of Jews in Israel today. (The word "hamas" in Hebrew means "violent men"; but the name Hamas in this case is Arabic for "zeal").

The Hebrew words used in Psalm 140 for Violent Men is Hamasim. When one looks up Violence in the R. Alcalay Complete Hebrew English Dictionary the Hebrew words Alimut, Paraetz, and Hamas are found. When looking from the Hebrew to the English the words translate as follows: Alimut - Violence, Terror, Terrorism Paraetz - breach, Gap, Trouble Hamas - to frighten, terrify, confound, stun, confuse, perplex (Esther 3:15, "the city of Susa was in confusion") All of these definitions are from modern Hebrew.

Even this terrorist group of Hamas (or another terrorist group, Hizballah) in control of a government does not possess the power to simply choose one day to wipe out a people in a single swipe. Even Hitler took years. There is no comparison for such anger, power, and sick disregard for any human life than in this day the ring was pressed to seal the fate of thousands. A plan, a parchment, a seal and a drink and the deal was done.

Date of Passover Celebration: Exodus 12:2:This month shall be the beginning of months for you; it is to be the first month of the year to you. Exodus 12:6-7, 13: 6'You shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month, then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel is to kill it at twilight. 7Moreover, they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses in which they eat it. 13The blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live; and when I see the blood I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.

Date of Annihilation Announcement in Persia: Esther 3:12, 15 12Then on the thirteenth day of the first month the royal secretaries were summoned. 15The couriers went out impelled by the king's command while the decree was issued at the citadel in Susa; and while the king and Haman sat down to drink, the city of Susa was in confusion.

No crime, no conviction, no conversation. No exit, no excuses, only execution - with celebration at that. This Passover was spent remembering and reciting the past when death passed over their doors at the same exact moment that death came knocking. Wine poured in celebration - one in clay cups, the other in gold goblets. The Royalty celebrating mass death; the Chosen celebrating mass deliverance. All in the exact same hour. The past and the future colliding into a very tumultuous present.

Suffice to say, we know people, if not ourselves, at this very moment who are very familiar with getting the news and waiting for the worst. All while praising God every step of the way. I wondered how a night of praise and prayer suddenly shifts into a whole new realm of reality when our circumstances so drastically change. Do we praise Him more? Less? Same? With more passion and fervor or with depression and fear? Do we sing of deliverance of the past, but deny the power of the present?

"When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near." Luke 21:28
Enjoy Him, Michelle

Taste and See

Book of Esther
For such a time, the palace is mine; the Husband-King, revealed to me. (mlp) Esther is as much present as past, for God works eternally and intimately in our nations and in our hearts. This book is famous for not mentioning the name of my Dad, the King over all of the Universe. I wonder how much of my life is the same...telling His story but not mentioning His Name. Will my everyday story shout of His glory as much as my whispers of His Name? When the time (or an "opportune moment"), comes may the revelation of His Name be received with favor as I have honored Him in love to His created ones?

God Himself is both Author and Narrator of this tale. His throne room is beautiful, powerful, and desirable. I enjoy the warm comfort of His Robes as He wraps me in His Light and reminds me of His moving in days of old and moments of now. This moment is of hope and beauty, rising within me to really live the life voiced by the Great I AM. He shows me the home of the humbled and orphaned Jew and the grandeur of the king's throne room. I hear the roar of the people and the whispers of the nobles. I smell the aromas the villagers and the sweetness of the king's gardens. I feel the sackcloth irritating and the silk soothing my skin. I taste the fullness of a banquet's best and the emptiness of a fasting's cry.

This tale of truth and deliverance begins with an attempt to describe the indescribable: the overwhelming splendor of a kingdom (true Home). The scene soon shifts down the road to my house in the "outskirts" of Persian power (temporary home), but for now, I soak in the story of stunning sights and sounds of feasting at the King's table of our Inheritance.

This day, the majestic moments are in the mundane. Some days I feel Him and some days I move unaware of the splendor that sings over us passionately in perfect love. This moment, I enjoy the Splendor of His Word Breathed over me.

Enjoy Him, Michelle