Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Esther - week 4

God is really doing some amazing things around here.  I can see His hand at work in so many areas of our lives right now.  It is pretty amazing!

As for my Esther study this past week, well, God is continuing to teach me.  And challenge me.  That is one of the great things about Him.  He does not leave us where we are.  He always desires to move us forward towards Him.  I know that I am a work in progress.  I'm just thankful He is willing to work on me!

In week 4 of the study Beth Moore makes this statement: "He'd use their enemies to turn His people back to Him."  The Jews in the Persian Empire made the choice to stay instead of return to Jerusalem when Cyrus allowed them to go.  They had become so accustomed to Persian life that most had lost their 'Jewishness'.  Sound familiar to our world?  God used the enemies of the Jewish people to wake them up.  When Haman's decree went out that all Jews in the Persian Empire would die, they remembered their God and became repentant before Him.  So, yes, God will use our enemies to wake us up if need be.  Sometimes things happen in our lives to remind us of who we are supposed to be serving.  (Disclaimer:  I'm not saying that all bad things that come our way are because we have sinned and are away from God.  We all know that is not true.  We live in a fallen world where bad things happen.)   There are times, though, when what we are facing is because of our own actions.  God always offers us forgiveness, but, that does not mean that the consequences of our sin will disappear. 

Another great nugget from this week was the reminder that I am royalty!  I hope this blesses your spirit as much as it did mine. 
"You are in the most literal sense possible the daughter of the universe's King.  You have royal blood in a way that even Esther did not.  The crimson bloodline of Christ flows through your veins."       Beth Moore, Esther: It's Tough Being a Woman
How good is that!!!  Remember who you are!  You are God's if you have accepted Him.  He always chooses us.  We also have to choose Him.

Have you done that?  Have you made Jesus your Lord?  If not, please give Him a chance.  Check out this website for more help.  Or email me!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Esther - Week 3

Several things stuck out to me during this week of Bible study.  The first thing was a parallel theme from the book of Daniel.  Beth Moore makes the connection between Mordecai and Joseph.  Mordecai would not bow before Haman even though this was a command from King Xerxes.  He had made up his mind beforehand that he would bow, even to save his own neck.  In Genesis 39 we read about Joseph's encounters with Potipher's wife.  She tried her best to seduce Joseph, but he would not give in.  He, too, made up his mind before he was even put in that position.  The same thing is seen in the book of Daniel.  We have to make our mind up before we are put in compromising situations.  Know where your line is and do not cross it!

Prejudice is the driving force behind chapter 3 of Esther.  Haman hated the Jews.  When he found out Mordecai was a Jew, his plan for destroying all Jews in the Persian Empire was set into motion.  We have to be so careful to not allow prejudice to set in our hearts.  I can remember hearing slanderous statements about certain groups of people as a child.  I thank God that He did not allow those things to take root in me.  We are all ONE RACE!  Every person on this planet is related.  One group of people is no better than another. 

Lastly, this week I was reminded of the fact that God is in control of my life.  Times when it may seem like things are out of control, when everything seems to be falling apart, when there seems to be no end in sight...God is on the throne.  He sees all, knows all, and controls all.  He is watching and waiting for His timeline to be executed.  God's time is not like ours.  He is never late.  He is always right on time!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Preschool Activities in a Bag

Last year I organized a Preschool Activities in a Bag swap at our co-op.  We are doing it again this year.  These activity bags are great tools to use in keeping your preschooler occupied. 

Each activity, with the exception of a few,  is placed inside a gallon sized ziplock bag.  The activity may involve sorting, lacing beads, matching, cutting and pasting, hand-eye coordination, etc. 

This year I am putting together an activity called 'Bag O' Buttons'.  After the swap I will post about all the great new activities.  If you have a preschooler, go check out the site.

Esther - Week 2

I love the book of Esther!  This study is only reinforcing that fact.  Most days I do more than one lesson because it is so good. 

Esther won the favor of those she met.  So that had to include the other women.  And in some circles that is huge!  We women can be our own worst enemies at times.  In Esther we see that we can be liked by others and still love God.  Sometimes Christians get so caught up in being 'Christians' that they have no earthly value.  I hope I am not misunderstood here.  It is important for us to live holy lives and do what we know is Biblically right.  I guess the thing we have to be careful with is self-righteousness.  I hope I never forget where God brought me from.  Who I am today is only by His grace.  It has nothing to do with me. 

On the flip side of that, though, is the fact that we cannot be so earthly minded that our Christianity is hidden.  Peter tells us that we are 'aliens and strangers in the world' (I Peter 2:11).  If someone can look at our life and not have the slightest idea that we are a Christian, something is wrong.  We need to be different.  Strangers do not blend in to their surroundings.  They stick out. 

So this week I am praying that God will help me with balance.  I want to be different from this world.  I also want to be effective in this world. 

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Bible Study

Last year I completed my first Beth Moore Bible study.  It was awesome.  I did the Daniel study with some women at my church.  I have always liked the book of Daniel but through her study I really fell in love with it.  There is so much to be learned in those 12 chapters of the Bible.

After Christmas I purchased the Esther Bible study to do on my own at home.  I started last week and it is so good.  I am going to post what little treasures I gleam from the study.  Mainly for my future benefit, but I hope it blesses you in the process.

In the first chapter of the book of Esther we learn about the 180 day feast King Xerxes hosts.  It is basically a drunken free for all.  At the end of the 180 days there is another 7 day feast.  Queen Vashti is having her own feast for the women.  Xerxes decides to show off his beautiful Queen Vashti and sends for her.  Vashti refuses to come.  Big mistake.  She is banished as Queen and most historians believe she was executed.  One reason she is banished is because the other men are afraid that all women in the Persian empire will begin to take rank above their own husbands.  They wanted to make an example of Vashti for all women to see.
Two statments Beth makes during the week really spoke to me.  The first one is:
"God is never more present than when He seems strangely absent". 
That really blessed me.  There have been many times in my life when I have felt like He wasn't near.  He is always near!  I may have walked a few steps backwards, but He has not moved.  In the Daniel study I learned that sometimes God will allow you to be in a fire in order to set you free. 
The second one is the first statment about women:
"It's tough being a woman in another woman's shadow, but sometimes, there in the hiddeness, God builds a woman she'd never otherwise become."
Wow!  How often do we women compare ourselves to one another.  For me, I have done this my whole life.  I have always felt a little less than those around me.  It's a battle God is winning, but I still step back in the battle for myself at times.  That's when I begin to suffer defeat.  The battle is not is His.  I will win if I let Him fight for me.  So when we feel as though we are in 'her' shadow, let's vow to remember that God is building us into a woman that we would not be able to become if we were not in 'her' shadow.

Good stuff!!!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Happy Birthday Lil and Daddy

My Lil is 4 toady!  I can't believe my baby is 4....

James and I thought we were finished having kids when Monkey was born.  When she was 2 we lost a baby to an ectopic pregnancy.  Our hearts were changed.  And we were blessed with Lil.  She truly is a blessing, as are our other two girls.  Lil is one of a kind for sure.  Those of you that know her know that she is full of energy.  She never stops.  Her mind is full of creativity.  She can be the sweetest and the 'stinkerish' all in the same moment.  Had we stopped at Monkey, look what we would have missed.

Lord, thank you for Lil.  She is delight in our home.  Her joy and energy give us all a boost.  Give me all that I need to be her Mommy and teach her.  Grow her into the lady that You desire her to be.  Help me to guide her in Your ways and not my own.  Amen.

Today is also James' birthday.  He received the best birthday present four years ago.  I will never be able to top that gift!  Happy Birthday!