When it Looks Hopeless

One of my favorite stories in the Bible is about Esther. She replaced Vashti as queen, who disrespected her husband the king. Nobody knew she was a Jew besides Mordecai, who raised her.

 

While Mordecai was sitting in the king’s gate, he overheard a plot by two of the king’s eunuchs. They were furious and wanted to lay hands on King Ahasuerus. When Mordecai told the matter to Esther, she informed the king and he had it written in the book of the chronicles.

 

Some time goes by before Haman, the highest in command, even above the princes, sought to kill Mordecai. He did not care for him because Mordecai would not pay homage to Haman because he was a Jew. Haman plotted to kill Mordecai and found a way by going after his people, the Jews. With the king’s approval, Haman wrote a decree against the Jews, guaranteeing Mordecai’s death.

 

 

We have all been there; a place where everything is set against us. It looks hopeless and we cannot see how God is going to get us out of the place we find ourselves. You may be there right now. If you are, I want you to take note of how God worked Mordecai’s situation out:

 

Queen Esther agrees to go before the king to save the Jews, even though to do so was risking her life. Back then, unless the king summoned her, she could not approach him. When she did, she found favor with the king and he asked her what she wished, up to half the kingdom. (She had serious favor with him)

 

She asks that he and Haman join her for a banquet.

 

What? Your people are about to die and you want to throw a party? That was my first thought when I read that. Then, when I saw she did it again, asked him to come to another party while at the aforementioned banquet, I figured she was stalling. Let’s see what happens:

 

Mordecai was overjoyed that he alone was invited to this banquet with the king and his bride. He even bragged to his friends and family about it. Yet, when he saw Mordecai, who would still not bow to him (don’t ever give in to your enemy), he became enraged and sulked.

 

“Then his wife Zeresh and all his friends said to him, “Let a gallows be made, fifty cubits high, and in the morning suggest to the king that Mordecai be hanged on it; then go merrily with the king to the banquet.” 

And the thing pleased Haman; so he had the gallows made. 

So Mordecai now has two threats on his life. Looks hopeless, doesn’t it? Check out what happens:

 

It says in Esther 6 that the king couldn’t sleep that night. He gets up and decides to read from the book of the chronicles. While reading, he finds how Mordecai had saved his life from the disgruntled employees. Not only that, but Haman is wondering around in the court, so the king summons him.

 

Of all people, the king asks Haman what should be done for the man the king wishes to honor. Haman, believing the king must be talking about him, draws this glorious picture of the man riding on one of the king’s choice horses with a robe the king has worn, all while it is proclaimed, “Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delights to honor!”

 

So, first we see how God woke the king up to discover the goodness of Mordecai. (Those good deeds you thought nobody saw- God did, and He’ll use them when/if needed) Then, Haman is the one who decides how you should be honored, but doesn’t realize it’s for you so he makes it good. (“The wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous” Proverbs 13:22- The enemy will pay for your blessings) Finally, Haman goes to the banquet with the king and Esther reveals that he tried to kill her people and the king hangs Haman on the very gallows he had built for Mordecai.

 

God will work things out. Don’t be discouraged, no matter where you find yourself today. If you remain faithful to your Lord, He will come through for you!

God did something… what was it?

All too often in our lives we can recount all of the funny episodes of our days but struggle to remember the things God has done on a daily basis. Are we walking through life ungrateful?

 Well, if you want to be truthful with yourself you’d see that you are.

Things we miss out of because we’re too busy complaining, are desensitized by society or have put things before our relationship with God are:

The fact that we woke up this morning

Our health

Our needs being met

Our salvation – so many people are praying for their loved one’s salvation and yet we all seem to forget to thank God for our own. It truly is the greatest miracle and yet we overlook it as something to be grateful for.

Those times God makes a way when there didn’t seem to be a way

There are so many things that God does, gives, says to us that we pass up the opportunity to thank Him for because we don’t consider the blessing it really is to have a God that speaks to us, works on our behalf and has in store for us.

Why not spend a moment today just thinking about the things He’s done for you this week? I bet you could list a dozen or more.

God does something every second. Try and point some out. They’ll make your problems, fears and failures a lot smaller.

I Want to Love

I listened to your unfeigned voice,
the emotion in your falsetto;
I watched your face illuminate
as you sang about your love;
Hearing the words you chose,
such sweet poetry of the heart.
I want to love this one you know.

Put the needle of hope in my arm.
Place the tape of optimism
to secure it there.
As I count back from 5
Let me fall
Into love like this
As I count back from 4
Let me live.

You create a brand new zeitgeist,
the candor in your song.
The evident way you love them
paints an enviable bliss.
Your convincing melody is
an anesthetic to my pessimism.
I want to love this one you know.

Put the needle of hope in my arm.
Place the tape of optimism
to secure it there.
As I count back from 3
Let me fall
Into love like this
As I count back from 2
Let me live.

You articulate my dreams well;
the ones that carry me to heaven.
You cauterize this hemorrhaging heart
stabbed by a cruelty of selfishness.
Your ability, willingness, to open up
to want for beyond yourself.
I want to love this one you know.

Put the needle of hope in my arm.
Place the tape of optimism
to secure it there.
As I count back from 1
Let me fall
Into love like this
Into love like this

Your Love Brings me Through

You not only hear

The cry from my soul

But You hear every tear

As it hits the floor

 

You not only love me

When I do right

But you love me with

All my faults and my lies

 

I can’t seem to be

Unloved by You

I can’t seem to run

Out of mercy with You

I can’t seem to fail

At anything with You

Because Your love

Your love always brings

me through.

 

I not only want

With my mind to love you

But with my strength, my might

And my heart too

 

I not only want

To never fail You

But live my life So I

Don’t fail others too

 

I can’t seem to be

Unloved by You

I can’t seem to run

Out of mercy with You

I can’t seem to fail

At anything with You

Because Your love

Your love always brings

me through.

 

Bridge: I live

             I lie

             I learn

             You love

             You lift

             You turn

             Spirit

             Help me now

             Open my eyes

             Show me how

 

I can’t seem to be

Unloved by You

I can’t seem to run

Out of mercy with You

I can’t seem to fail

At anything with You

Because Your love

Your love always brings

me through.

 

Have sex God’s way

How does God really feel about sex? Looking at some of the scriptures in the Bible I would say that He’s all for it. (Not a newsflash, I know) God created sex. Everything God created was good. The problem comes in with the devil.

 Looking at the law of first mention

“In the Beginning God created the Heavens and the Earth and it was GOOD.”
What happened?

Tohuw and Bohuw

What is that, you say? “without form and void.” The actual translation from the Torah says “Tohuw and Bohuw. If you look those words up you’ll come to the conclusion and answer I did: the devil. Somewhere between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2 is where Isaiah 14:12 comes in.

“How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!”

When Satan fell to the earth he brought Tohuw and Bohuw with him so all that was created “good” became infected. Including sex.

  • God never intended for people to be ashamed of their bodies- that was the devil’s doing.
  • God never intended for people to have sex outside of the covenant of marriage- devil’s doing.
  • God never intended for sex to be an act of self-gratification- devil’s doing.
  • God never intended for people to need to ask questions about sex- devil’s doing.

God is all for an intimate, open relationship between a husband and wife without any form of fear. Unfortunately, today what you find is fear in many different forms haunting and polluting married couples.

Women come into marriage thinking that they must be XY and Z in order to be a good wife. Sometimes past relationships paralyze their ability to enjoy their husband intimately. Other times they’re plagued with images of women in such a fashion that they don’t feel beautiful any longer, or they feel they are only loved for the wrong reasons.

Likewise, men have been so invaded with images of women that it is difficult for them to keep their minds pure and faithful to their spouse. Another issue men face is the unreasonable expectations women hold for their husbands based off of fantasy novels and “fairytale” movies and television shows. Most of the expectations women enter a marriage with are nothing more than unattainable.

So what do you do?

Have sex God’s way.

  1. Keep your mind set on things above- I don’t mean to think about God while having sex, either. I mean to keep your mind (soul) centered on the things that please God. Pornography, lust, manipulation and selfishness are not of God.
  2. Do everything in love. I am not talking about just loving the person you are with. Walk in love when it comes to that person. Be patient, kind, don’t envy, don’t seek your own, don’t be easily provoked or behave rudely, believe the best of your partner, hope for the best and endure everything that comes.
  3. Another part that goes with love- “Perfect love casts out fear.” When you really love someone, there should be no fear. You shouldn’t fear whether or not they’ll cheat on you, whether they really love you or if they might hurt you. If you have any of those fears then you need to work on your concept of love. (noted)

I’m going to end with this thought: If God created sex and it is “good”- why are so many people settling for the alternative the devil has offered?

A Sexually Frustrated Generation

“Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you by the gazelles and by the does of the field: Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires.” Song of Solomon 2:7

“I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, do not stip up nor awaken love until it pleases.” Song of Solomon 8:4

I  believe that we are living in a day and age where more and more people are sexually frustrated. Why? Because they woke up (stirred up) something they shouldn’t have, and did so before it’s time.

We live in a society where sex is all around you. It’s in commercials, television shows, movies, books you read, on clothing, in music, in the news, in school, at work and at church. Sex is everywhere. With such a bombardment of sexual thoughts, inuendos, portrayals and debates, how does one NOT think about it? And, if you’re a virgin and trying to retain your sexual purity, how does all of this not turn into the biggest spoon ever to enter your pot?

“Promise me, O women of Jerusalem, by the swift gazelles and the deer of the wild, not to awaken love until the time is right.” Song of Solomon 3:5

So, when is the right time? Your wedding day. No, this is not written for those of you who have no concept of the covenant of marriage or for those who don’t see the fault in premarital sex. It is written for those who want to walk in integrity, not only in their conversation, but their lifestyle.

 “‘When I passed by you again and looked upon you, indeed your time was the time of love; so I spread My wing over you and covered your nakedness. Yes, I swore an oath to you and entered into a covenant with you, and you became Mine,’ says the Lord God.” Ezekiel 16:8

When you get married, traditionally the father walks the bride down the aisle to her new husband. I want you to picture with me something that I saw when I read this scripture. When we are at the right age, the time of love, God Himself comes down and covers us. He does this with the protection of our parents, our pastors and His Word. He makes a covenant with us to cover us until the day He gives us to another.

Now, visualize the wedding ceremony of your dreams. The seating is decorated with flowers and bows, the altar is surrounded by those closest to you and the love of your life, the music plays gently and the back doors open to reveal a young bride with her father. They walk between all of those congregated to witness the blissful day of the joining together of their friend, sister, brother, son or daughter with the one they love. As they take each step you notice, there with father and daughter, God Himself walks on her other side. He, too, has a part to play in this service.

He has held this young women in the palm of His hand, covering her for years. His protection has shielded her from those that prowl for an immoral peek of such beauty. He has shaped her thoughts and with her submission to His guidelines kept her from wandering down paths of perversion and insecurity. He has preserved her tenderness and purity for the day she would give such a treasure to the one God fashioned for her.

Now, the covenant of marriage is entered by each with a simple “I do”, a signature and rings. God lifts the veil now for her new husband to see the beauty He has been conserving.

“Forty years ago, 29 percent engaged in sex before age 18, compared to 63 percent recently.” Sex, Love, and Health in America: Private Choices and Public Policies~ Edward O. Laumann and Robert T. Michael

Too often, young ladies don’t wait to awaken their love. They may or may not know how God feels about sex before marriage, but more often than not they remove God’s hand to reveal themselves before time. This not only leaves them prey to the devices of the world, it sets them up for heartache and disappointment when their prince is not the Prince of their dreams.

Child/adult sexual experiences: Roughly one in eight women and one in 16 men have had sexual experiences as children with an adult. People who have had such experiences tend to exhibit much higher levels of erotic behavior during adulthood. Women who have had that experience are more than three times as likely to have had more than 10 sex partners in their lifetime, twice as likely to have had a sexually transmitted disease, nearly three times as likely to report high sexual dysfunction during adulthood, and nearly four times as likely to be forced sexually as an adult.” Sex, Love, and Health in America: Private Choices and Public Policies~ Edward O. Laumann and Robert T. Michael

I could write about this all day and include countless facts and quotes about such a topic, but I want to end with this. If you waken love before its time, you’ll never know why it was worth the wait…

Studying the Bible Naked

“And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.” Genesis 2:25 

 “You will never be naked and unashamed until you can be naked and unashamed with yourself.” ~ InHizImage

When you are ashamed it is because you feel condemned. You are judging yourself against something, whether it is the Word, friends, family, society or your own personal endeavors. 

~Condemnation keeps you ugly, unworthy and unnoticed.

“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not

walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in

Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.” Romans 8:1

 

     I have had low self esteem most of my life. The things I saw in myself nobody else did. The compliments continued to come, but I became ugly in my own eyes. When that took place my self-worth deteriorated as well. I didn’t feel I deserved the love of my husband; I only made friends with people I felt I could measure up to; and I overworked at everything to try and find worth.

     As I said before, the compliments continued even though I thought I was ugly. Likewise, all of my efforts were recognized, accolades were given. Yet, everything I did went unnoticed to my mind because I knew those things that I didn’t do, or realized how much more I could have done.

     I became my worst critic. Nothing I did mattered, nothing I had to offer was good enough and I never looked good enough in my own eyes. The underlying root in all of these is sin, and my knowledge of it. Our cognizants of the sins we commit often times blinds us and keeps us in shame; paralyzing our ability to keep growing.

“Forgive and you will be forgiven… For with the same measure that you use, it

will be measured back to you.” Luke 6:37b, 38b

First of all, that includes YOU! If you don’t forgive yourself then God can’t. I didn’t say He won’t… He can’t. That scripture, like many others in the Bible, is a spiritual law (principle). God follows those laws just as there are natural laws that we must follow.

~Law of gravity~ The gravitational (natural force of attraction) of the mass of a celestial object (as earth) for bodies close to it.     

On Earth, if you throw something up then it must come down due to the law of gravity. On the moon, that law does not apply. In the spiritual realm there are laws as well. God gave us these laws so that we could operate and live effectively with them. He is not trying to keep people in sin or give them room to be unforgiven.

“The Lord is not slack concerning His promises, as some count slackness,

but is longsufferingtoward us (you), not willing that any should perish but that

all should come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9

So we must forgive ourselves. Period. It doesn’t mean to justify what you did. Forgiveness is recognizing what Jesus di on the cross to cover your sins and make you the righteousness of God as enough. If you can’t forgive yourself then you are bound by those sins. When you are boung then you will never see the beauty God has put into you and wants to show through you.

“Likewise, we will become sick with ourselves if we reflect back on all that we have done

in life . In fact, one of the quickest ways to resurrect your old self is to begin

remembering the “old days”. You risk the spirit of shame and guilt overtaking you if you

are not careful.”  Resurrecting the Wrong Life~ Calista Laws

 

The Bible tells us to forget those things behind us. We have to let go of all of the failures, mistakes and even the intentional sins we have committed. Until we do, we are still placing ourselves under their control. If you are born again then the Spirit should be what controls you, not your past. When you see yourself through the eyes of God and what He says about you in His Word, then you will have no reason to be unashamed.

When we hold on to a part of our past that has hurt us we are actually giving it control of our lives. In my marriage, my past hurts were controlling my marriage and the love that I would release or receive. We must render our past helpless, yet more and more we are helping it control us by submitting to its’ trap of fear and resentment. Calista Laws ~ Resurrecting the Wrong Life

 

I began writing this from notes that I had taken. I had just ran a couple miles, came home and mowed the lawn and was trying to cool down. I took my shower but when I got out my body temperature was still pretty high so I didn’t want to get dressed. As I sat on my bed with just my towel on. I picked up my Bible to do some reading and wait to return to a cooler temperature before getting dressed.

While reading my towel, which I had not sufficiently secured, fell to both sides of me. My first reaction of course was to stop reading and cover myself once more. It was at that moment that God spoke to me and said, “Why are you so ashamed?”

We both knew why and I started to cry. I didn’t like the way I looked and didn’t want anyone else, not even myself, to see my naked body. No, there was nobody else in the room, but be honest with yourself: when was the last time you studied the Bible completely naked?

Then, this thought came to mind: We cover ourselves with clothing, blankets, towels, make up, hats, shoes and personas because we’re trying to cover the very thing God fashioned us to be. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting we all start walking through life literally naked. It is time though for us to shed the fears, shame, masks, hesitations and doubts. Get before God and let yourself be naked. Let Him see those areas of your life that you’re trying to ignore or cover. It is only then (through admission and repentance) that you’ll be able to be naked and not ashamed…