Some stories have been around awhile. Yet the message is just as applicable today as when they first were told.
So Sunday, I did a centuries old practice by telling the story of God delivering His people. I handed out to adults paper plates made into bean shakers – and we all participated. The kids came forward and I told the story. We booed and shook the plates when the name of the bad guy was said. And cheered at the name of the hero and heroine.
Esther — whoop whoop. Haman – boo, rattling of beans. Mordecai – hip hip hooray. It was mayhem and wonder at the same time. The kids had so much fun. We had giant dice thrown all over the stage to emphasis the lots (the Purim) that Haman used to decide which day would be set aside to destroy the Jews.
I’m talking of the celebration of Purim. The annual celebration of God’s delivering His people. Haman’s plot to eradicate the Jews was foiled. God caused a great reversal of events and saved the people and judged Haman.
But the kicker is that God is still in the delivery business. He delivers me and you from sin and the death sin brings. He delivers from the bondage of depression, addictions, brokenness and more. And like Esther, God doesn’t always show Himself directly (God is not even mentioned in the book) but you know He is there.
Even when you don’t see Him, God is at work.
At the publication of this entry, Purim starts tonight – at sunset. But don’t wait till then to celebrate – if you’ve been delivered by God, then everyday, every moment, should be a celebration .
And maybe take a moment in your prayer time to pray for Israel – God”s chosen nation.
God is not done delivering yet. And for that, I celebrate.
He was at the top of the world. Life was going his way. Private dinners in the White House. People paid him honors and adoration. He had skyrocketed to heights we only dream of. BAM … life came to a screeching halt, even more, it sent him careening in the opposite way. He now plummeted down and lost everything.
Then there are stories of people born of humble means. They scratch and sweat and diligently work hard in difficult environments to over come all odds to succeed. And in humility, they give back to others – using their position to help and lift others out of dire situations.
This life does seem to throw us around at times. You’re finally able to save a little money, and then BAM, a medical expense throws you in reverse. You seem to be getting along with people at work and then BAM, you find out they’ve been working behind your back and take credit for what you did. You’re struggling and wondering how you’re going to pay some bills, and BAM someone has anonymously given you a financial gift and pays the bill to help you. One of the most humorous stories I know that illustrates this happened years ago. A youth pastor (my godfather actually) was in seminary and it was several days to payday … and they had nothing but just enough food to eat. They even ran out of toilet paper. So they humbly took their request to God and asked for toilet paper. Seems awkward to ask the ultimate being, the creator and sovereign God … for toilet paper. But then God showed up. That night, the youth group decided show their youth pastor some love – and they toilet papered their house. Yep. God answers. The couple went out and took the TP off the trees and house, rolled it back up as best they could, and thanked God for answered prayers.
In church yesterday, we saw in Esther 7 that God opposes the proud (Haman in this case) and exalted the humble (Esther). It is a strong reminder to us.
Today … remember you are just a moment away from destruction. But for those who humble themselves, He will exalt at the proper time.
Lord, keep my heart humble, keep my eyes on You, and keep my hands and feet ready to be used by You to help others wherever and whenever I can.
It pierced the quiet night air … her scream. She called for me, her warrior, to come rescue her. I ran from the other side of the house; and upon entering the bedroom, I found her standing on the bed pointing to the corner of the room where a monstrous snake was coiled ready to strike. Fangs appearing. Blood dripping. And eyes that glowed evil red.
Okay, maybe it was a small 3-foot black snake that was hiding from her as much as she was trying to get away from it. But this is my adventure, let me tell it my way.
I put on my armor (cowboy boots), got my weapon (a shovel), and killed the monstrous beast. It was a scene that rivals that of Harry saving Ginny from the basilisk. I stood victorious, and then swept the fair lady into my arms receiving the praise and kisses I was due. Her hero had won the day like a scene from a movie.
Yeah, not exactly. I then cleaned the mess up and looked for any family members. My wife eventually calmed down and life returned to normal. Such is life in the country … snakes, skunks, deer, and even once saw a bear.
Fears can paralyze us. They can cause screams, shivers, and more. Yesterday, I shared the power of dangerous prayers and having God search us. And when we are honest and open before Him, our deepest fears will be revealed. We will see where our trust in Him comes up short. We cling to phobias and anxieties because of a number of reasons … but the biggest is because we don’t have a clear enough vision of how BIG our GOD really is.
For when we see the fears as too big, we make our view of God too small. This trap, this snare can be overcome when we grasp the glory, the greatness, the grandeur of God and His power, presence, provision, and plans.
Esther fasted for three days. She dressed in royal attire. She walked into Thee throne room uninvited. She stood, when protocol demands bowing. This was courage. For with a simple wave of his hand, Xerxes could’ve had her killed for such audacity. But she believed she was here for ‘such a time as this’.
She knew it could’ve meant death. She knew a failure could’ve led to disaster for her and millions of her fellow Jews. But she also knew her God was bigger than all of this. Such courage. Such boldness. Such bravado.
I want that. I want courage to defy odds, stand boldly, and take chances for God.
And Esther gave us some insight to how to get this courage. First, spend time with God. She prayed and fasted. She devoted herself to talking with God and seeking wisdom, direction, and insight … and I believe more than that, I believe she sought God himself.
Second, she didn’t do this alone. True, it was her standing there, no one else. But she called on her people, her fellow children of God to pray for her and for this very moment. It’s so much easier to face snakes and dragons and fears when you know you’ve got a posse.
And third, she had a BiG view of GOD … knowing He could handle this. No issue is too big for Him.
What about you? What fears do you have? Where is your view of God too small?
Spend time with God
Get support from your family of faith
Grasp the greatness of who God really is
Your fear may not be to stand before the ruler of the world and face potential death, but even if it is … God is bigger. So dream big. Act with courage. God is bigger.
And that makes this adventure called life all the more exciting. Today, be courageous. Know that God is BIG. Bigger than any dragon.
Part One … my life, my wife. Do you have a song? A song that makes you think of your wife? I do. And it is the most popular, longest lasting hit of the Commodores … Brick House. Before my church members get pitchforks to run me off, let me share.
Now this is not a song that objectifies women, but talks of one that has beauty, wits, and strength. She can knock a man to his knees. Her subdued Alpha personality can take control of any situation. My wife is humble, spirited, beautiful, wise, and she is mighty-mighty, oh yeah, mighty-mighty. This song makes me think about all of that in my wife.
A very popular spin with DJs, especially at weddings, Brick House, brings its swagger of funkiness, it’s powerful bassline, and ingrains itself into our very mood and mind. When it hits the playlist, my whole body gets into jamming and my mind brightens to the music. I am not a dancer, not at all (scary thoughts just typing this), but when it played at Calvin and Tiffany’s wedding (my son/new daughter in law), even I thought of getting my lady out on the barn floor to show my moves that have been declared illegal in 30 states and 12 nations.
Part Two … Commodore Legacy since 1977. The history of the song takes it back to the Tuskegee Commodore studio. The majority of the song came together in one setting. It went on to reach #5 on the charts, and possibly the most impactful staying-power tune of the band’s playlist. From the creative mind of the drummer (yes, they bring lots to the table at times), this tune sparked beauty contests on their tours. “Miss Brick House” of that locality. Over 800 showed up in Indianapolis for the contest.
It represents any strong women, the best of whatever one desires. Like in home building, brick is appreciated, strong, and desired by homeowners. so too is whomever comes to your mind when this song hits the air waves or ear pods.
Part Three … the Jewish Brick House who won a Persian king’s heart. About 2500 years ago, this young, strong, wise, humble, trusting woman is thrown into a beauty contest to please King Xerxes, yes Xerxes. The great king who was stalled by Leonidas and 300 Spartans.
The king needed a wife so virgins were brought in from all across the land. The contest was NSFW and objectified women and left a strand of one night stands throughout the year. In this questionable debacle, God works to put Esther in a place to save her people.
This text, Esther chapter 2, is my text for sermon this coming Sunday. So, when my choir director asked for suggestions, I told her Brick House. I am not sure Evergreen is ready for this, but I know I am. I’m pretty she will ignore my suggestion.
Let’s bring these three together …
God has positioned my wife at the right place. We are together and she is used greatly in my life, my ministry, and my all. Walter Orange, the drummer, was positioned at the right place to bring this classic tune to fruition. And God positioned Esther at the right place too.
God has positioned you where you are as well. It may not make sense, you may not see God in the immediate circumstances, but He can bring out something great. As Tony Evans says … God is always doing something bigger than what you and I can see.
May you trust Him, He is at work.
Have a blessed day … I am turning off the keyboard and turning on iTunes …to, Brick House, what else.