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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Esther - Woman Of Beauty And Courage
The book of Esther is one of the best known and loved books of the Bible, yet it is the only book that never mentions the name of God. However, from Esther's actions, we can tell that she believed that it was only through God's help that she could overcome the battle that was raging against her and her fellow Jews.

Esther Becomes Queen

Esther was raised by her uncle Mordecai after her parents died. Esther was very beautiful and through Mordecai's initiative, she was presented to King Xerxes who was looking for a wife. The king immediately fell in love with Esther, married her and she became queen. Esther now passed from a season of being a poor orphan to a season of royalty. Who could hope for more? But shortly after becoming queen, her uncle Mordecai sent her a message that Haman, one of the king's aides, was planning to kill him and all the Jews because he, Mordecai, would not bow to him.

Esther's Dilemma

Esther was dumbfounded. As queen she carried a certain amount of influence, but not even she could go into the king's presence uninvited and she had not seen him in thirty days. Furthermore, Xerxes didn't even know she was a Jew. No sooner had she sent this message to Mordecai, than he sent back another one, saying, "Do not think that because you are in the king's house you alone of all the Jews will  escape. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arrive from another place ... And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?" (Esther 4: 12-14).

Esther's Act Of Courage

Mordecai's answer spurred Esther to action and she instructed him to gather all the Jews in Susa to fast for her for three days while she and her maids also fasted, and at the end of that time she would go into the king. She ended with the now famous words, "And if I perish, I perish" (v 16). Esther's actions resulted in Haman being hanged, the king revoking his decree against the Jews and giving them the authority to kill and annihilate any armed forces that attacked them.

Victory Through Fasting

Wasn't that a supernatural victory? There comes a time when beauty, position, wealth or any other resources we may have is not enough to wage war againt the enemy. Esther realized that she needed supernatural strength to enter the king's courts and secure a victory for her and her fellow Jews. And so she used the powerful weapon of fasting. The Bible records other instances where people fasted for spiritual reasons. God Himself says about fasting, "Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?" (Isaiah 56: 6). When Jesus' disciples asked Him why they could not cast out a demon from a little boy, Jesus replied, "Because you have so little faith ... Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting" (Matthew 17: 20-21) KJV.

Are you in a spiritual battle? Do you need supernatural strength to wage war against the enemy? Then pray and fast and victory will be yours. You can read more about Esther here in this excerpt from my book Women For All Seasons. And if you subscribe to this blog between now and the end of the year, you can win a copy of the book.

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Thursday, November 25, 2010

A Book Inside - How to Write and Publish a Book: Still Need More Hits After Blog Jog Day?

A Book Inside - How to Write and Publish a Book: Still Need More Hits After Blog Jog Day?

Happy Thanksgiving!

I am a Child of God sign from Mom and Owl pain...Image by mandaloo via FlickrI just read a blog that someone wrote about the importance of giving thanks. It set me thinking about the many times I did something for someone and he/she never said so much as "thank you." Not anything significant. Just simple things, like  picking up something the person dropped without being aware of it, or holding a door open for them. I have to admit, I chafe at that kind of behavior when my good deed goes unnoticed. Bad manners is what I call it. And that's the reason I left this comment: If some people seldom say "thank you" to those they can see, how can they say "thank you" to a God they can't see?

The fact is, giving thanks is important to God. When Jesus had cleasened ten men of leprosy, only one, a Samaritan, returned to thank Him. Jesus said, "Were there not ten cleansed ? but where are the nine? There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger" (Luke 17:17-18). The Bible says, "Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever" (1 Chronicles 16:34).

The Bible has hundreds of references to thanksgiving. Even Jesus gave thanks to His Father on a regular basis. Shouldn't we do the same? As I lay in bed reflecting on the year that is almost over, I realized that  instead of murmuring and complaining I have so much to be thankful for: Jesus Christ who redeemed me to the Father, my family and friends, my home, my job, the things I was able to accomplish this year, like travelling to Alaska and publishing my first book Women For All Seasons. I owe it all to God and I'm thankful.

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Sunday, November 21, 2010

A Very Intriguing Person

Last week I met Bernadette Todd for the first time. She is a very intriguing lady who travels all over the US and the world speaking about Jesus Christ and sharing her testimony. She is a wife and homemaker who challenges thousands each year at schools, churches and conferences with her personal story of hope. Besides her speaking ministry, she also mentors women, teaches Bible study in her home and leads the young married couples' department alongside her husband.

In 2004, Bernadette was featured on the front page of the Florida Baptist Witness as one of Florida's godly women making a difference. In 2006, the weekly paper also commended her for her mission work. What's so special about this lady? Well, in her own words, "my mouth is the only part of my body that works well." You see, Bernadette was afflicted with Muscular Dystrophy from the age of 5 and was not expected to live past the age of 8. Muscular Dystrophy is a progressive illness that wastes away the muscles. However, God had other plans for Bernadette and today she is 43 years old, in a wheelchair and using the only part of her body that still works to bring glory to God.

She makes me feel so inadequate. Me, with my strong arms and legs and a body that works. The Bible says, "I can do everything through him who gives me strength" Philippians 4:13. We may be strong physically, but compared to Bernadette we are weak if we are not doing what the Lord has called us to do. Let us ask God for strength and guidance to use what He has given us to bring Him glory. Paul said, "We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach;  if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully" (Romans 12: 6-8).

Let us resolve today to do all that we can for God while there is still time and while we are still physically or mentally capable. If you are not able to do anything, maybe you can give and if you can't give you can pray. God needs you.
Bernadette and husband, Jeff
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Blog Jog Day

It's blog jog day and I'm excited to have you here! Feel free to explore all this blog has to offer. This month I'm celebrating the release of my new book Women For All Seasons. You can learn more about it by going to that page. You may subscribe to my blog for a chance to win a free copy of my book. Then when you are done, please leave a comment and jog on over to “Sustain and Abstain”  for another exciting read. If you would like to read more blogs, please go to Have fun!

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Joseph's Story

In case you didn't know it, and I didn't either, but I heard it in church that today is Orphan's Day. And, according to the speaker, there are approximately one hundred and thirty-five million orphans around the world. Now that is a staggering number. It means that number of children can go hungry, naked and with no roof over their heads unless someone steps in and helps them. Will you?

Fortunately there are organizations such as the Christian Alliance for Orphans, Children's Hope Chest, Orphan Outreach, Watoto Children's Ministries and many others. If you are interested in helping in some way, you can access one of these organizations via the internet or through your church. There is so much wealth in the world, it is said that a small percentage of that wealth can alleviate world hunger. But you don't have to be wealthy in order to give. A little goes a long way. The Bible says, "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world" (James 1: 27) NIV.

A few months ago, my church was blessed by a visit from the Watoto Kids of Uganda. It was a moving experience to watch these kids, most of whom had lost their parents to the war or to AIDS, sing and dance their hearts out to a captive audience. Watch the video above and the one below and give as the Holy Spirit leads you.

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