No Matter What

Queen Esther agreed to do what Mordecai asked of her. She chose to believe that he was speaking from a godly perspective. She also realized it would be God, and God alone, who would keep her alive when she went before the king, uninvited. She chose to put her hope, faith, and love for God above everything else, above even the strongest desire of the flesh, food and drink. She asked her people to do likewise in hope that humbling themselves before God, putting Him above all else, would move the heart of God to bring mercy and favor so their lives would be spared.

“Go, gather all the Jews who are present in Shushan, and fast for me; neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will fast likewise. And so I will go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish!” Esther 4:16

Someone has said that faith requires a thousand deaths.

I have never faced the fear of death as Esther did.

To write from her perspective is impossible.

But along my journey of life, as God has been growing my faith; I have faced “deaths” to self; my desires, comfort, and agendas, that have required me to fear God and not man.

Even the seemingly small things I do can bring situations that I need to die to.

Whenever we do things that have eternal significance it will require dying to self.

This is a busy week as I get things ready for the Living Nativity. But as I take some time to write, I’m reminded of the situation Mary faced when the angel came to her one day.

In many ways Mary’s situation was similar to Esther’s.

Mary was betrothed to Joseph, which meant that legally and religiously they had entered into marriage, but hadn’t yet consummated the marriage. Mary was waiting for the “home-taking” when Joseph would finish building their house and would come and take her to their new home, where their marriage would be completed.

So when the angel came and said to Mary…

“Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God! You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High.” Luke 1:30-32

Mary was confused and didn’t understand.

Mary asked the angel, “But how can this happen? I am a virgin.” Luke 1:34

So the angel explained.

“The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God.” Luke 1:35

This meant Mary would be pregnant while betrothed.

Mary would have been seen as committing sexual sin, perhaps adultery.

According to the Law, sexual sin was punished by cutting the offender off, and adultery was punished by stoning.

As the word from Mordecai pronounced an almost certain death sentence over Esther, this word from the angel also brought a possible death sentence to Mary.

When Esther realized that perhaps she was in the palace for such a time as this she willingly obeyed no matter what the outcome would be. Mary too accepted her position as a servant of God and willingly received the word from the angel of God, no matter what she would face.

“Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” Luke 1:38

These two young women found favor with God, and were chosen by Him for a specific purpose, at the specific time.

These two young women had a destiny to save their people.

These two young women faced possible death sentences.

These two young women chose to fear God, above the fear of death.

These two young women lived to see God work the impossible, accomplish the miraculous, and saw the salvation of their people!

In light of what these two women faced, the “deaths” I face while planning and preparing for the Living Nativity seem insignificant. Yet, I am convinced kingdom work has resistance in the spirit realm. When I consider the eternal possibilities of what can be accomplished through the Living Nativity I realize the enemy doesn’t want it to take place and will do whatever he can to stop it.

When we celebrate the true meaning of Christmas through drama and reading aloud the Christmas Story from the Bible, singing Carols and songs that lift up the name of Jesus, sharing a short message of the Love of God, and gathering together around cookies and hot chocolate, this has Eternal Significance! This has the potential of “saving” people! This is what I am committed to no matter what!

I have been encouraged by Esther and Mary. Their stories remind me that I have been positioned for such a time as this, and that as a favored servant of God I’m not alone as I plan and prepare for the Living Nativity. This is something God has called me to and I can look to Him for help, and I can trust Him to provide everything needed to make this Living Nativity a “success” and to use it to bring salvation to many! Esther called her people to join her in fasting for God’s mercy and favor, an angel came to Joseph to tell him of God’s plan for Mary, her baby, and him as her husband. The love and support of those around them enabled them to  carry out the destiny God had for them. I too am thankful for the help and support of many around me that share the work and the joy of making the Living Nativity a reality!

It is my prayer as the Living Nativity is presented this Christmas that many people will come to know the true meaning of Christmas; that Jesus, who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, will be born in the hearts of many!

Please come and join in this celebration of Christmas…all are welcome!

 

Living Nativity

Saturday, December 16

Solid Rock Day Camp

37 Stephens Road, West Milford, NJ

Two out-door Performances

4:30 and 7:00

Each followed with Cookies and Hot Chocolate

Dress Warmly, Bring a Friend

Rain / Snow Date – Sunday, December 17, same times

It’s a Matter of Perspective

What do you do when you receive bad news?

“When Mordecai learned about all that had been done, he tore his clothes, put on burlap and ashes, and went out into the city, crying with a loud and bitter wail. He went as far as the gate of the palace, for no one was allowed to enter the palace gate while wearing clothes of mourning. And as news of the king’s decree reached all the provinces, there was great mourning among the Jews. They fasted, wept, and wailed, and many people lay in burlap and ashes.” Esther 4:1-3

While Mordecai was dressed in burlap, covered in ashes, and crying out to God, Queen Esther was unaware of the evil plot against her people.

When Queen Esther heard about Mordecai she didn’t understand and was worried about him. She sent clothes out to him, but when he didn’t receive them, she sent out her servants to find out what was wrong.

Mordecai sent word to Queen Esther explaining why he was mourning. He told her about the decree, sent along a copy, and told her about the money that Haman promised to put into the treasury. Mordecai also asked Esther to go before the king and to beg for mercy for her people.

Sometimes life is suddenly invaded with bad news.

Sometimes life requires that you do the impossible.

What was that last thing Mordecai said to her? ” …go to the king to beg for mercy and plead for her people.”?

I’m sure Esther felt bad about the decree against her people. I’m sure she wanted to help Mordecai and the Jews to be saved from the evil plot, but to go before the king when he didn’t call for her, that was more than she was willing to do.

This was her response…

“All the king’s officials and even the people in the provinces know that anyone who appears before the king in his inner court without being invited is doomed to die unless the king holds out his gold scepter. And the king has not called for me to come to him for thirty days.” Esther 4:11

From Esther’s perspective Mordecai’s request meant certain death. 

Because Mordecai responded to bad news by humbly “mourning” and crying out to God, God enabled him to see things from a different perspective. 

“Don’t think for a moment that because you’re in the palace you will escape when all other Jews are killed. If you keep quiet at a time like this, deliverance and relief for the Jews will arise from some other place, but you and your relatives will die. Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this?” Esther 4:13-14

In God’s presence everything changes!

In that place alone with God, He gives you insight and wisdom that aren’t from your own understanding, but from His heavenly perspective. God enables you to see the big picture and He brings comfort, strength, and hope to do what He puts on your heart, even if it does’t make sense.

In God’s presence Mordecai was reminded of God’s love and faithfulness to His people.

In God’s presence Mordecai was given divine revelation.

Sometimes God calls us to speak into the atmosphere words of faith that will fulfill our destiny.

From Mordecais’ perspective he saw this “divine positioning” as perhaps God’s way of working all things together for the good of His people, for such a time as this!

From Esther’s perspective, living as queen in the palace she found herself distant from her people, unaffected by the decree, and unwilling to risk her life to plead for the king’s mercy.

Sometimes we must heed the advice from someone who sees our situation from a different perspective.

As Mordecai explained to Esther the bigger picture; as he told her that she too would be killed along with all the Jews, when he reminded her that God is a loving God who is always faithful to rescue His people, and as he shared his thoughts about why she was chosen as queen…

his words caused her to look beyond herself, to see from a different perspective, and to consider the greater purposes of God. 

Through the years Mordecai raised Esther she learned to respect and obey him. Esther found favor in listening to and submitting to his advice and suggestions. So now, when Mordecai asked her to do something that was literally a matter of life and death, Esther was willing to trust him.

Esther’s respect and obedience to Mordecai was based on her fear of God. She realized that what Mordecai was saying and what he was asking her to do weren’t just his ideas based on his own understanding, but in fact he was speaking words from God.

God used Mordecai’s words of faith to change Esther’s heart.

“Go and gather together all the Jews of Susa and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will do the same.” Esther 4:16

Esther began to see the bigger picture; that it wasn’t just about her life, or even her death. The evil plot was meant to destroy all the people of God. And if she really was in the palace for such a time as this, to save her people, she was willing to lay down her life for their salvation.

It was no longer about self preservation, but about fulfilling destiny!

“And then, though it is against the law, I will go in to see the king. If I must die, I must die.” Esther 4:16

May we learn from the examples of Mordecai and Esther and choose to draw near to God to receive His perspective  in times when we are faced with bad news or an impossible request.