Murder They Plotted

Not much is known about the job that Mordecai had working for the king other than it involved sitting at the gate.  This gave him the ability to hear news about Esther.  One day while sitting at the gate Mordecai over heard two eunuchs talking about how upset they were with the king.  They were so angry that they developed a plan to kill him.  Mordecai brought this to Esther’s attention and she told the king.  The king set out his own investigation into the matter and when he found it out to be true he had the two eunuchs hung.  Josephus says that the king had the scribes write down what happened and asked Mordecai to stay at the palace as a close friend.

We should never let anger take us to that point of where we want to kill someone.  We should always be willing to talk about it and deal with it instead of letting it fester in our hearts to the point we are willing to hurt the person we are angry at. 

This story shows that we never know who is watching us.  We always need to live a life that tis pleasing to God no matter where we are at.  People are watching us all the time that we never no about.  Are we living a life that others can see God in us and want us around or do we live a life that brings people down because of our negativity?  Our words have the power of life or death, remember to speak life.

The Kung

As the story of Esther opens it reads like a soap opera.  You have partying, a rebeouis wife, anger managent issues, a murder plot, search for a new queen, jealousy, plot to commit genocide, the plot revealed, and quashed.  When you look at it who does the responsibility for all this fall up, the king.  As we see in this first chapter that he was ruled by his emotions, he allowed others to make policies for his kingdom and struggled with pride.

Ah, King Ahasuerus, when  we first see this king, he is the ruler over one of the largest empires, that stretched from Ethiopia to India. This includes modern day, Israel, Iraq, Iran, Turkey, Egypt and  Lybia.  Now as we start the story about Esther we see that King Ahasuerus had invited all of the princes, his court and his army officers to the largest party ever that lasted 6 months.  During this time he showed off all his power and wealth.  Just think that it took him 6 months to show off all of is wealth and might, while we have all of eternity and will barely make a dent into God’s wealth and might.   One of the reasons that he threw this big party to make sure everyone was with him for his next planned take over, the Greek Empire. He ended this party with a 7 day banquet at the palace for everyone that lived in the capital city of Shushan.  He had declared that the finest wines to be served and in an unlimited supply.

Queen Vashti held her own banquet for the ladies to attend.  We are not given a reason why she did this but I’m guessing that she didn’t want to be around a bunch of drunk men.  There was no cultural rule that the women had to eat separate from the men, because we see in Nehemiah 2:1-6 that the queen was sitting next to the king at this party.  As we see on the seventh day the king was very drunk and had run out of things to show off so he sent 7 eunuchs to get the queen and bring her there to show off her beauty.  When the eunuchs told her to come with them wearing the crown she refused.  Many commentators say that she refused because he wanted her there wearing only her crown.  We end this week with a furious king when the eunuchs reported back the queens refusal.

Knowing Him – Fellowship Through Transformation – Mary Magdalene

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Not much is known about Mary Magdalene before she came to Jesus other than, she came from Magdala and that she was completely possessed by demonic forces.  We know that she was possessed by 7 demons, which some commentators say that because the numbers 7 represents completion she was completely possessed.   We have no clue what opened her up to being possessed by demons.  We do know that the area she was from was known for prositution however, there is nothing in the Bible that teaches that she was a prositute although many say that she was.

To what we do know about her.  Once, Mary Magdalene was set free from the demons she was transformed immediately.  She left her old life behind and became a devoted follower of Jesus.  Everywhere He and His disciples went she went with Him.  Listening to His teachings and adjusting her life to what He said.  She is listed among the women that served and supported the ministry of Jesus.  Not only did she love Jesus but those that were with Him and loved being with them.  She was courageous, when the disciples fled after Jesus was arrested; she followed Him to the mock trial and to the cross.

I think that the proof of the fellowship that she had after the demons were cast out and her transformation is that she was the first one that Jesus appeared to after He rose from the dead even before He had ascended to the Father.  It was once He said her name that she realized He was alive.  I have a friend that is like a second mom to me. After moving to Texas I don’t get to see her except for when I go back to Arizona.  This last time I was with my Mom as we went into my friends store where my Mom shops every week.  Once we get back to her area I see her in the back room and I called out to her.  Once she heard my “Mom”, she knew it was me.  She said she has a lot of people that call her mom but their are two that she recognize and that is her daughter, my good friend, and mine.  This is what it is like for Mary at this point she knew it was Him by the way He said her name.  His love, God’s love had completely filled her.  No longer was there room for anything else in her life.  Can you imagine the joy in her heart as she ran to tell everyone else that He is alive?  That she had seen Him.

God seeks to transform lives with His love and through that transformation we are brought back into fellowship with Him.  Our past doesn’t matter to Him.  Like Mary, all that matters to Him is that we leave the past behind us. Stop letting it define us. Press in close to Him and follow Him with all that we have.

Knowing Him – Fellowship Lost in Trials – Job’s Wife

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When you stop to think about it and put yourself in Job’s wife’s shoes, you just might be on her side and join her in saying, “Job, just curse God and die.”  After all she had not signed on for this tragedy.  This is not how she saw her life going.  This was not the fairy tale ending of, happily ever after.  Not only had they lost everything they owned, in the blink of an eye they lost all of their kids in one big gust of wind.  To top it all off, Job was covered with painful boils.  In her mind she could be thinking she was next and surly she was not wanting to follow him down that road.  Her response was totally opposite of Job’s.

When we look back at Eve where fellowship was first lost and we compare Job’s wife with her; we can see their actions are very similar.  First, the both fell into Satan’s trap; Eve fell for the lies and so did Job’s wife. What lies you might ask?   Here are a couple that could have been going through her head; “I’m next, I’m going to be covered. In boils.”  “God hates us and is punishing us.  We are better off dead.”  “If Job is dead then this madness will stop.”.  Instead of seeking to be like God as Eve did, Job’s wife was throwing a big pity party for herself.  Her pain drove her not closer to God as it did with Job but away from God and her husband.

Secondly, they both gave their husbands ungodly advice.  Maybe, back then the wedding vows were different.  Maybe, it is because of Job that the wedding vows stat, “…for rich or for poor…..in sickness and in health……”  Or maybe, just maybe neither of them understood what is meant to be a helper.  How a wife is to encourage her husband as the spiritual leader not destroy his relationship with God.

Lastly, the pride of life got both of them.  Eve wanted more that what she had in the perfect place she was in.  Job’s wife, lost everything and she in turned focused on herself not Job nor the two of them as a couple, just her and how it all made her look to others.  The center letter in prIde became their focus.  Anytime we get our focus off of God it will automatically go to be on ourselves and it will manifest as poor me what must I do to make myself better.

So, next time trials come let’s remember that:  it is not about just us but those around us are effected too, not to destroy relationships with others or to destroy others relationship with God because of what we are going through.  Most importantly,  may we draw closer to God in times of trial and not let the fellowship that we have with Him get lost. Knowing that only He can see how it will all work together for our good since He is outside of time and space.  Because when we are in the midst of a trial we can’t see the forest for the trees, yet He sees the forest, the trees and exactly what tree is in front of us.

 

Knowing Him – Fellowship as Siblings – Mary & Martha

As we close our look at Mary and Martha we will we see them with Jesus at the house once more.  Mary is still at the feet of Jesus and Martha is still busy in the kitchen but there is no complaining.  At least not from Martha.

Mary anointed Jesus’ feet with an expensive perfume to show her love for Him.  She honored Him the best way that she could.  While Martha honored Him in preparing a meal without complaining.  Martha had her focus changed as to why she was doing it.  No longer was it a have to but she did it out of love for Him.

When we do things out of love no matter who it is for, it no longer is a burden but a delight.  As we keep our focus on Jesus and the love that He has given us then we are able to work along side our brothers and sisters.  

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Knowing Him – Fellowship in Family – Mary

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Is there anyone that you can sit and listen to for hours on end teach and still want to hear more from?  Someone that you just want to absorb somehow everything that they know?   I sure do and I know that is what Mary was feeling as she sat at the feet of Jesus listening to Him.  She didn’t want to miss one word that He uttered as she sat there clinging to His every word.

To Mary there was no time to fuss about the house or prepare a meal, all  she needed was what Jesus was teaching.  His words were life and she knew it.  If Martha wanted to miss out on what He had to say fine but don’t expect her to.

It wasn’t that Mary was too heavenly minded, she just had her focus right were it needed to be.she didn’t let the worries and cares of this world get her heart and mind off of the one thing that is important and that is Jesus.  When we take our focus off of Jesus and put it on the worry and cares of this world that is when we get stressed out.  When we keep our focus on Jesus then the world around us could be falling apart yet we are not shaken by it because we know that He is the One in control of it all.

Knowing Him – Fellowship in Family – Martha

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Before we all jump on the bandwagon against Martha, let’s take a look at what happened.  It was Martha that welcomed Jesus into her home.  She started off with good intentions.  How many times do we start off on something with good intentions and end up getting overwhelmed by what we are doing?   That is exactly what happened to Martha.  Luke says in 10:40; that Martha was distracted by all that she had taken on.  In other words she was burned out.  She had lost her focus on why she was doing what she was doing.  Martha started looking at it was not just Jesus but all His disciples and those that were with Him. How was she going to feed them all?  Where was everyone going to sit?  Did she have enough dishes?  And the list goes on.  Her mind was spinning with all that was going on that she couldn’t focus on what Jesus was saying because everything else in her mind was louder than Him.  Then there was Mary, her sister, just sitting there.  She should have been helping her, so Martha thought.

Finally, when she reached the end of her rope she went to Jesus complaining that Mary wasn’t helping her.  The response that she got from Jesus isn’t what she was expecting.  However, it was what she needed. A gentle reminder that she was focused on what was going on around her and the cares of life that she had forgotten why, for Whom she was serving.  When you have the gift of service it is so easy to focus on what needs to be done and that no one else will do it so might as well do it or it won’t get done.  When you start to go there that is when you are more likely to get burned out.  You have taken your focus off of Who you are serving and focused on all you have to do because no one else is doing it.

We are a big family, the family of God, and although it may seem that there is a lot to do and no one is going to get it done; God has a plan and it is not for you to do someone else’s job.  Keep your focus on what He has asked you to do.  He didn’t ask Martha to prepare a meal for everyone she took that on herself.  At first she wanted to do it but started resenting Mary because she was listening to Jesus’ teaching and she had put herself in a position with all she was doing that she couldn’t even hear Him talk.  Keep your focus on what He has asked you to do and not everything else for there are brothers and sisters that need to do their part, just not in your time.