Friday, June 24, 2011

Are You Willing to Pay Sins Price?

Are You Willing to Pay Sins Price?
Ecclesiastes 8:12
Though a sinner do evil an hundred times, and his days be prolonged, yet surely I know that it shall be well with them that fear God, which fear before him:

Ecclesiastes 12:13-14
Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.
Seasons of Sin
King Solomon, after toying with sin and enjoying its pleasures for a season, came to this conclusion: Every work will be brought before God to be judged whether it is good or evil. Have you asked yourself this question? “Is my sin worth the price I will pay?” Sometimes the consequences of our sin are not seen for long periods of time–– months, even years, or the next generation. The consequences of sin don’t always follow the act of sinning which causes us to foolishly think, we are getting away with sin. This is Satan’s deception and it opens the door to other sins breaking fellowship with God and causing us to be enslaved to sin. Every time we say “Yes” to the desires or “lusts” of the flesh, we are giving in to these desires and allowing them to lord over us. When we decide to obey our flesh and not God, we begin to establish sinful patterns in our lives that are very difficult to break. This is when Satan comes and tells us, “What’s the use? You are just going to do it again! Why try?”
John 8:34 
Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.

Romans 6:16
Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?

Seeking Forgiveness
Thanks be to our Lord Jesus Christ for not giving to us what we truly deserve––punishment for our sins. One reason that God does not punish immediately after sin is because He, in His  patient divine purpose, wants sinners to repent. Satan wants to keep sinners in bondage, fear, doubt, and guilt but, the Lord Jesus wants to give us freedom in faith and loving assurance that we are truly, “Born Again.” May we never forget what Christ has done for us in His dying on the cross to atone for our sins or ever loose sight of the exceeding sinfulness of sin in comparison to the ultimate sacrifice of His so great salvation.
2 Peter 3:9
The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

Thought: My dear friend, if you have never sought forgiveness for your sin, I encourage you by faith, to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ to save you and receive His free gift of eternal life. Tell God that you want to turn away from your sin, to place all your trust in Christ alone, and let Him be the Lord of your life. Thank Him for forgiving your sin; and for the gift of the Holy Spirit who has come to live within you. The Holy Spirit of God will enable you to walk in victory over sin, as you yield to Him day by day. (If you have just placed your faith in Christ, I would love to hear from you and be able to encourage you in your new life in Christ.)

Friday, June 17, 2011

The Book of Esther #20

The Book of Esther
Esther 10:1-3

And the king Ahasuerus laid a tribute upon the land, and upon the isles of the sea.  And all the acts of his power and of his might, and the declaration of the greatness of Mordecai, whereunto the king advanced him, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Media and Persia? For Mordecai the Jew was next unto king Ahasuerus, and great among the Jews, and accepted of the multitude of his brethren, seeking the wealth of his people, and speaking peace to all his seed.

Ahasuerus Laid Tribute
The simple statement “King Ahasuerus laid a tribute upon the land...” has great meaning. In the Old Testament the word tribute usually meant compulsory enlistment of people to forced labor or the connotation of a taxation of money. Upon the isles of the sea, implies the king’s ownership of all this land, being the eastern Mediterranean, with its many islands would be effected by this tribute. During this time of Persian history, there was a time-honoured method which meant; each province had to provide supplies for the ruler during a fixed period each year. Since the Jews were not allowed to plunder the land, “peaceful taxation” was ascribed by Mordecai as a just reward to the treasury of the king being that he was the main factor in their deliverance. Eight years after the inauguration of the Feast of Purim, Xerxes better known as King Ahasuerus, was assassinated in his bedchamber.
Mordecai Given Tribute
Mordecai the Jew was second only to King Ahasuerus. He had the highest-ranking position among the Jews as an international statesmen in the land. Preeminent and powerful among the Jewish people, he was admired as a promoter of the welfare of his people. Mordecai, in the brief time he was in the top ranking echelon, brought peace to the Jewish people. The memory of this man and his queen, who was willing to give her life for her people, will forever be written down in the chronicles of the king and more importantly in the Chronicles of God’s Word.
Thought: Though Mordecai brought peace to the Jews during this brief time in history our Lord Jesus Christ for all eternity will bring peace to us. For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.  Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.  (Isaiah 9:6-7)   

Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another. (Romans 14:19)

May God’s peace enrich your life as you serve Him here on earth looking unto that glorious day when we shall know the perfect peace of God, even for ever more.

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Book of Esther #19

The Book of Esther
Esther 9:20-32
Mordecai wrote these things, and sent letters unto all the Jews that were in all the provinces of the king Ahasuerus, both nigh and far, To stablish this among them, that they should keep the fourteenth day of the month Adar, and the fifteenth day of the same, yearly,  As the days wherein the Jews rested from their enemies, and the month which was turned unto them from sorrow to joy, and from mourning into a good day: that they should make them days of feasting and joy, and of sending portions one to another, and gifts to the poor. 

And the Jews undertook to do as they had begun, and as Mordecai had written unto them; Because Haman the son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, the enemy of all the Jews, had devised against the Jews to destroy them, and had cast Pur, that is, the lot, to consume them, and to destroy them; But when Esther came before the king, he commanded by letters that his wicked device, which he devised against the Jews, should return upon his own head, and that he and his sons should be hanged on the gallows.

Wherefore they called these days Purim after the name of Pur. Therefore for all the words of this letter, and of that which they had seen concerning this matter, and which had come unto them, The Jews ordained, and took upon them, and upon their seed, and upon all such as joined themselves unto them, so as it should not fail, that they would keep these two days according to their writing, and according to their appointed time every year; And that these days should be remembered and kept throughout every generation, every family, every province, and every city; and that these days of Purim should not fail from among the Jews, nor the memorial of them perish from their seed. 

Then Esther the queen, the daughter of Abihail, and Mordecai the Jew, wrote with all authority, to confirm this second letter of Purim. And he sent the letters unto all the Jews, to the hundred twenty and seven provinces of the kingdom of Ahasuerus, with words of peace and truth, To confirm these days of Purim in their times appointed, according as Mordecai the Jew and Esther the queen had enjoined them, and as they had decreed for themselves and for their seed, the matters of the fastings and their cry.  And the decree of Esther confirmed these matters of Purim; and it was written in the book.

Mordecai’s Letter of Instruction
It may be possible that months had passed or maybe even years since the events which occurred on the fourteenth and fifteenth of the month of Adar. Mordecai, now the prime minister of Susa, recored all the things that had happened to the Jews and sent letters encouraging them to celebrate these two days annually as the Feast of Purim. He issued a decree instructing them that they were to have two distinct holidays to observe. The Jews needed to remember what had taken place in their lives and be mindful of their wonderful deliverance from extinction. The letter Mordecai had written reaching all the Jews near and far in distances up to 2,000 miles, would encourage them to celebrate with expressions of joy, days of feasting and festivities that included: gifts to the poor as well as the exchange of presents.
Esther’s Letter of Influence
Esther writes a second letter, with all authority, opening with the words, “peace and truth,” an oriental greeting giving assurance to the Jews of their triumph over their enemies and encouraging them to observe the days of Purim. The observance of, “The Feast of Purim,”  decreed by King Ahasuerus in the second letter written by Esther, added “fasting and lamenting” to the festivities as prescribed. The commemoration of this appointed time would establish for them and their descendants a remembrance of God’s providential intervention and would be recorded in the book of the chronicles of the king.
Thought: Can we truly trust God in everything in life? Will He, in His infinite wisdom, bring good from evil to accomplish the best possible means to an end, which He has in view? In truth, God’s infinite wisdom is displayed in bringing good from evil and beauty out of ashes. Though Haman wanted to kill and destroy all the Jews in the kingdom and evil was meant against them, God, in His infallible wisdom, used this evil for the good of the people bringing Esther to the forefront whom God used to deliver her people. Nothing can thwart the purpose of God even though man may try and some circumstances may actually appear like God is not sovereign. Our God is still in charge!
 O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! (Romans 11:33) 

Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is infinite. (Psalm 147:5)

Friday, June 3, 2011

The Book of Esther #18

The Book of Esther
Esther 9:11-18

On that day the number of those that were slain in Shushan the palace was brought before the king.  And the king said unto Esther the queen, The Jews have slain and destroyed five hundred men in Shushan the palace, and the ten sons of Haman; what have they done in the rest of the king's provinces? now what is thy petition? and it shall be granted thee: or what is thy request further? and it shall be done. 

Then said Esther, If it please the king, let it be granted to the Jews which are in Shushan to do to morrow also according unto this day's decree, and let Haman's ten sons be hanged upon the gallows. And the king commanded it so to be done: and the decree was given at Shushan; and they hanged Haman's ten sons. For the Jews that were in Shushan gathered themselves together on the fourteenth day also of the month Adar, and slew three hundred men at Shushan; but on the prey they laid not their hand. But the other Jews that were in the king's provinces gathered themselves together, and stood for their lives, and had rest from their enemies, and slew of their foes seventy and five thousand, but they laid not their hands on the prey, 

On the thirteenth day of the month Adar; and on the fourteenth day of the same rested they, and made it a day of feasting and gladness. But the Jews that were at Shushan assembled together on the thirteenth day thereof, and on the fourteenth thereof; and on the fifteenth day of the same they rested, and made it a day of feasting and gladness. Therefore the Jews of the villages, that dwelt in the unwalled towns, made the fourteenth day of the month Adar a day of gladness and feasting, and a good day, and of sending portions one to another.

The Enemy Destroyed
The end of the day has come and the death toll reported to the king. The Jews have slain and destroyed five hundred men and the ten sons of Haman in Susa the capital. The king then inquires, “What had they done in the rest of the king’s provinces?”–– anticipating similar reports from various parts of the empire. The king, desiring to please Queen Esther,  asks again, “Now what is thy petition? and it shall be granted thee: or what is thy request further? and it shall be done.” Esther gave her request to the king, asking him to allow the people to defend themselves against the enemies of the Jews, one more day. Although Scripture does not say, she may have learned of a Persian plot to attack the Jews again in Shushan and wanted the Jewish people to be able to guard themselves against that attack. The queen also requested that the bodies of the ten sons of Haman be hanged on the gallows in public display. The king gave permission for the hanging of Haman’s ten sons and the fighting resumed the next day. Another three hundred men were killed the following day in Shushan, bringing the total dead to 810, including the ten sons of Haman. Outside of Shushan, 75,000 men were killed on that one day of fighting, decreed by the king. 
The Day of Rejoicing
The enemy has been defeated and now the Jewish people can rest, rejoice, feast and be glad in what has been accomplished. Those outside Shushan, rejoice with gladness, feasting and sending gifts of food to one another. Picture this day of rejoicing and celebration as you would Christmas, with joy, gift giving and of course, feasting. We could not have this joyous occasion without remembering the reason for this great celebration, the goodness of God and His gift to us, Jesus Christ.
Thought: When we celebrate as Christians anything, may we be encouraged to be thankful for everything that God has given to us, especially our freedom from the bondage of sin and death. The supreme gift given to us by God is His Blessed Son, Jesus Christ, our only hope of eternal life.