Thursday, December 25, 2008

More notes on Swindoll's Esther

Pg 147 "This is life, as relevant today as when it was first recorded. This is written to people who face intimidating, stubborn souls. Perhaps they live with them, are married to them, or have grown children like that. This is written to people whose lives have been scarred by documents and lawsuits, bad reports, or rumors. This is written to people whose lives are lived within the thick, stone walls of depression and doom...There is home!" Ps 30:5

Pg 148 "God is in the business of breaking down walls. The wall may be your own stubborn will." Ouch! Can he walk on my toes or what?

Pg. 150 " 'And many among the peoples of the land became Jews...' The gladness of their hearts, the joy on their faces, the delight in their dancing, the overall unrestrained fun among them attracted others to their Lord."

Chapter 10 talks about self-control -- The Jews had been given permission to protect themselves and then take the things belonging to those who they slayed. The Jews refrained. How easy is it to get carried away at getting back at someone, to enjoy it, to see them suffer like you suffered? Self-control is a fruit of the Spirit. When we fail to exercise self-control, we are allowing Satan to control us.

The way I have started looking at this is like this. When someone tries to attack me or make something my problem or my business when it is not, it's like one of those yellow stickies I use at work. I imagine them writing whatever it is on the paper and then sticking it on me. Do you know how easy it is to knock those off? It requires very little effort. I just have to do it. So I flick them off one by one and they fall to the floor. IF SOMETHING ISN'T YOUR BABY TO ROCK, THEN BY ALL MEANS DON'T ROCK IT! Just because someone tries to make a situation or problem yours doesn't mean you have to take possession of it. If you feel you need to do something with it, put it in God's lap and leave it. Walk away. It's when we take possession and hold onto things longer than we should that anger and retaliation and vengeance is birthed. The Jews planned to defend themselves, utilized self-control, and left the rest to God.

Then there is celebrating. The enemy is defeated. God's favor has been seen again on the Jews. His timing was perfect as usual. People were converted to Judaism due to the rejoicing of the Jews. People are still looking for excitement and joy and enthusiasm. People are drawn to those people. Have you ever been around someone who has been miraculously healed, someone who had one foot in the grave just for God to kick it out? I know of a man like that. As a matter of fact, in the middle of one night while he lay in the hospital I was awakened with this impression that there were angels all around him. No faces. No solid form to touch but rather to be seen. My chest was so heavy and tears flowed like streams. He had been placed on my heart at 3 AM in the morning. I got up and prayed. I was disturbed by what else had been laid on my heart....he was not going to make it and I knew he still had 2 kids in the house to raise. So I prayed. I prayed how the Spirit led because I really didn't know the man. I wrote him a letter about what had been put on my heart, but I refused to write down that he wouldn't make it. Early the next morning on the way to work, I took the letter and dropped it off in his room without signing it. I wasn't suppose to. It wasn't for several more months when I was led to tell him I wrote the letter. We both wept. He said he had kept that letter by his bedside ever since. He brought it to church for me to sign, and I did as he requested. I told him I didn't sign it originally because it wasn't about me, it was about the message, and he completely got it. His doctors had said he won't make it (a death sentence) just like the Jews, but God had other plans. He is now a walking, dynamic miracle of God and when he worships and rejoices you see the purity in it and people are drawn to him. It gives him such opportunities to tell about what God has done for him. It opens doors that would never have been opened. This is what celebrating God's victories in our lives will do.

My mom fought Stage 3 breast cancer in 2007. Every time she had a chemo treatment, Lori and I would plan for something to happen or someone to surprise her. We wanted to offset the dread and fear with something to look forward to. We didn't get permission from the chemo lab, we just did it. The last treatment though was different, I asked if we could have a quartet come sing. They said it would be great. Well, it turned out to be about 12 people instead with a CD player, scripted verses, and word sheets. We sang praise and worship songs while she got her last treatment. Nurses joined in. Family members and patients joined in. People had their cell phones on holding it in our direction letting their loved ones hear. The machine started beeping as we sung about the works of His hand. It was an awesome time of praise and worship. They are still talking about it to this day in the chemo lab. In January 2008 after she had completed her chemo and radiation treatment, we held a victory party. We were claiming she was healed even though she hadn't gotten a bone scan or PET scan to confirm it. My sister and I planned the party. We had cakes, punch, door prizes, testimonies, singing, and a table showing the journey. We gave the glory to God Almighty and testified as to what He had done in each of our lives individually during 2007. It was amazing the people who showed up that cold day.

People are drawn to those who are joyful and and rejoicing. And anyone who has been given a death sentence or a scare like that rejoices like no one else can. In the old testament people would build altars when God had done something that way those who came behind would hear the story of how God provided and how He was faithful. Celebrating is a way to build an altar. We need to tell our children, talk to our children and tell them how God has been faithful in our lives. What stronger testimony is there?

No comments: