Esther for This Time #7 – God-Designed Comedy

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.
Esther for This Time - Prayer, Reversals & JOY

Mordecai Led Through the City by Haman by Azor Masters, Painting, 1420 AD, The Hague

God-designed Comedy

God-designed comedy can reverse calamity! Don’t you wish every tragedy turned into a good laugh instead? Sometimes, we think God doesn’t have a sense of humor. Today in our podcast on Esther, we cannot help but see the comedy from the hand of God that reverses a tragedy.

In Between Dinner Parties

In our last study, Esther asked the king and Haman to a festive banquet dinner she prepared. At the end of the dinner, Esther invited the king and Haman to a second dinner the next day. She delayed the real request because her discernment through prayer and fasting told her the timing was not right.  Between the two dinner parties, Haman bursts with pride to family and friends at being asked to dine twice with the king and queen of Persia. However, his joy disappears at the sight of Mordecai, who refuses to stand up in his presence. Today, we join the king, whose sleeplessness, ordained by God, leads to a reversal of circumstances. We cover these points:

The Sleeplessness of the King Results in a Peripety (Esther 6: 1-12)

  • The King can’t sleep, so he entertains himself by reading his annals – large volumes that record the history and accomplishments of a king’s reign.
  • The King’s sleeplessness begins with peripety (pronounced “pe-rip-e-tē”). The term is used in dramatic arts to define a sudden reversal of fortune with a change in direction.
  • In a tragedy, the plot turns a lead character’s fortune into ruin.
  • In a comedy, the reversal changes tragedy into comedy.
  • In Esther Chapter Six, we see both kinds of peripety.

God’s Reversals (Esther 6: 12)

  • The king turns in his annals to an event that occurred five years earlier, only to discover that Mordecai’s service had NEVER been rewarded.
  • Just then, Haman arrives at the inner court after constructing a 75-foot-high gallows for hanging Mordecai.
  • Haman lusts for power and hopes to wear the King’s robe.
  • The ancients attached great significance to wearing a royal robe. It was considered a mark of great favor and honor.
  • Haman tells the king what could be done to the man whom the king wants to honor.

Haman Humbled (Esther 6: 13-14)

  • Haman hated Mordecai and was greatly humbled when he proclaimed his greatness while wearing the king’s robes and crown and riding the king’s horse.
  • God’s hand seems to create a peripety: Haman, once honored as second in power to the king, is humiliated, and Mordecai, in sackcloth and ashes, is exalted in the king’s robe and attire.
  • Haman’s friends and wife Zeresh realize that the Jews worshipped a God, who seemed to be intervening.
  • Haman did not know the warnings of Proverbs 16:18 and Matthew 23: 12.
  • Proverbs 16: 18. Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. NRSV-CE or
  • Matthew 23: 12. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted. NRSV-CE

 The Greatest Peripety of All (Ephesians 2: 4-6)

  • The greatest reversal of all God planned since creation was our redemption from sin and eternal death through Christ’s passion, death, and resurrection.
  • It was the greatest REAL peripety of all.

Personal Reflection

  • In Esther Chapter 6, we see God’s hand at work reversing many situations. Which of the following principles do you find most helpful?
  1.  Wait for God’s timing and guidance: He can intervene in your life with a miracle that changes everything.
  2.  God intervenes in history when His people call out to Him with prayer, repentance, and fasting.
  3.  Jesus Christ is your reversal of fortune—He died out of love for you to forgive your sins and offer you eternal life. Now is the time to accept His forgiveness as His plan for your life.
  4.  I will try to remember these verses to remind me of God’s ability to intervene in the worst of circumstances:
  • Isaiah 59:1. See, the Lord’s hand is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear.
  • Jeremiah 32: 27. See, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh; is anything too hard for me? NRSV-CE

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Openness & Self-emptying

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Lent – it’s not only about you

“Where is your brother?” is the second question Pope Francis asks in his Lenten message for 2024.

The first is, “where are you?” which I talked about in the previous episode, Where are You?

In the book of Exodus, God reaches out to the Israelites. They are so downtrodden that they are unable to even call out to God for help. But God cares for them. And cares for each of us.

3 Pillars of Lent

Prayer, fasting, and almsgiving are not meant to be three separate acts. One leads to the other, pulling together the three leads us to learn how to detach from created things of this world that separate us from God.

The three together, as Pope Francis says, create an openness and self-emptying that rids us of attachments.

Then, we are able to better care for those around us.

Our attitude has an effect on others.

 

Connect with me here!

 

Esther for This Time: Prayer, Reversals & JOY – The Backdrop & the Party

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Prayer, Reversals, and JOY

Have you studied the book of Esther? Do You Need Reversals in Your Life? Are you struggling to find faith and courage? Esther will show you how. Join our newest series based on the Book of Esther.  It’s a  wonderful study for Lent.  It is about trusting in God, intercessory prayer, and receiving strength to stand firm amid life’s challenges. It is about gentle leadership, discernment, and how God can give you reversals and joy in situations and relationships. Esther is a book of faith, hope, and joy!

[Don’t forget the Joy podcast series here.]

This is the Time

Welcome to Esther for This Time: Prayer, Reversals & JOY Episode #1, based on my book Esther For Such a Time As This: Prayer, Reversals, and JOY.  When we wonder, “Where is God in our lives or our families or communities,” Esther reminds us that God never abandons us. He is faithful. Now is a good time to start if you have never read or studied Esther. You cannot depend on movies depicting Esther because some are more fictional than historically accurate. You will gain so much more by reading it yourself, as the lessons from Esther are so encouraging. And, of course, there is a JOYFUL ending. Today, we will cover these points:

The Backdrop for Esther (Esther 1: 1-3)

  • The days of Ahasuerus (Esther 1:1) refer to the reign of King Ahasuerus, who historically ruled the world as King of the Persian Empire from 486 to 465 BC. In Greek, his name was Xerxes.
  • The Persians, led by Cyrus the Great, the grandfather of Ahasuerus, had defeated the Babylonian Empire of King Nebuchadnezzar, who had taken the Jewish people captive to Babylon beginning in 605 BC. Cyrus the Great had a relaxed attitude toward the Jewish people and allowed them to return to Jerusalem or move to other places. Some went back to Jerusalem. Some scattered throughout Europe. Some stayed in Persia and learned to fit into its culture. This is where we meet Esther.

The Lavish Party (Esther 1: 4-8)

  • King Ahasuerus resided in Susa, one of the three royal cities in the Persian Empire.
  • He threw the lavish party, mostly to inspire patriotism and show off his wealth and splendor to his military leaders so they would support him for going to war against Greece, as history tells us.
  • An old tradition stated that the rest of the party could drink only as the king drank, but at his party, all were instructed to drink freely. The golden goblets used for serving the wine may very well have been the sacred goblets seized from the Jewish temple in Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar in 605 BC (see Daniel 1). Now, they were being used in a very unholy way by a very pagan king!

Personal Reflection.

  • King Ahasuerus was trying to make himself a god in power, prestige, and more.
  • He did not know or refused to acknowledge the truth that God loves us dearly but as Proverbs 15:3 points out: “The eyes of the Lord are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good,” or Hebrews 4:13, saying: “And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”
  • Consider these questions for reflection today:
    • Do you wonder where God is when you see the world focused on self-image, power, and prestige?
    • Do you get discouraged when it appears God is silent about all the evil taking place in the world?
    • When God seems silent, do you turn your attention to the party—that is, to the worldly distractions that draw you away from God, faith, and family?

Prayer Response

  1. Read and pray with Psalm 103: 15-22. Try to memorize the verse that speaks most to you.
  2. Seek God. When you think he is silent as the world parties on, open yourself more to God. Remember that only God, our heavenly Father, Jesus, our Savior, and the Holy Spirit can offer you the true Joy, Peace, Love, and Fulfillment that the world is seeking, as epitomized by King Ahasuerus.
  3. Ask for your needs. When you are lonely, confused, or frustrated, talk to Jesus from your heart.  Ask Him for what you need. Remember Jesus’ words in John 15: 11: As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.   (You may want to listen to my podcast season #1 series, Finding JOY.)

Links

 

 

Asceticism

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Asceticism – not a word you use every day

Lent is approaching and I’ve been considering the idea of asceticism. Which is different from minimalism.  But rather than my words, let’s look a the definition from A Concise Dictionary of Theology.

“Asceticism is the ways and mean sdopted by Christians under the action of the  Spirit to purify themselves from sin and remove obstacles in the way of freely following Christ. Genuine asceticism brings a growth in contemplation and the love of God that is not detrimental to personal maturity and socil responsibilty.”

And Lent…

The three pillars of Lent are prayers, fasting and almsgiving. Deacon John and I talk about how to decide what to both give up and do for Lent. We do not divest ourselves of attachments to worldly things for the good of our own self. We do it to grow closer to God and better serve others.

The steps to a plan

First, we pray. Then we consider our options. Add one act of prayer, fasting and almsgiving and give up something that allows you to have more time, money, energy – whatever is needed to do the acts you will do.

 

Lent begins on Ash Wedensday, Marh 4, 2022. Prepare for LEnt this week so you are ready when it begins. If you are listening outside of this time frame, pick something anyway to do for a week.

 

 

 

Is Lent a time of sacrifice or action?

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

What is Lent?

Lent is 40 days before Easter, it begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on the Wednesday before Holy Thursday. It is a time of prayer, fasting and almsgiving; a way to prepare ourselves for the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Sacrifice or Action?

I say both! Give up something and then do something. But it’s not only me saying this, God does too! Check out Isaiah 58:1-9a.

 

Yes, Lent has already started but it’s never too late to enter into the season. For this week, choose a sacrifice and an action for the rest of Lent.

FYI: I have a playlist for Lent on Spotify.

Sign up for the Live Notlukewarm Newsletter here and get a sample of my bible study on the Fruit of the Spirit.

Intermittent Fasting

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Podcast #26

Intermittent Fasting

What is intermittent fasting?

Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern where you cycle between periods of eating and fasting. There are many different types of intermittent fasting, such as the 16/8(fast for 16 hours and eat for 8). Studies show that it can have powerful benefits for your body and brain.

Changes The Function of Cells, Genes, and Hormones

When you don’t eat for a while, several things happen in your body. For example, your body initiates important cellular repair processes and changes hormone levels to make stored body fat more accessible. Here are some of the changes that occur in your body during fasting:

  • Insulin levels

  • Human growth hormone

  • Cellular repair

  • Gene expression

When you fast, insulin levels drop and human growth hormone increases. Your cells also initiate important cellular repair processes and change which genes they express.

Can Help You Lose Weight and Belly Fat

Intermittent fasting helps you eat fewer calories while boosting metabolism slightly. It is a very effective tool to lose weight and belly fat.

Reduce Oxidative Stress and Inflammation in The Body

Oxidative stress is one of the steps towards aging and many chronic diseases. Studies show that intermittent fasting can reduce oxidative damage and inflammation in the body. This should have benefits against aging and development of numerous diseases.

May Help Prevent Cancer

Intermittent fasting has been shown to help prevent cancer in animal studies and humans studies have shown that it can reduce the side effects caused by chemotherapy.

Intermittent Fasting is Good For Your Brain

What is good for the body is often good for the brain as well. Fasting has been known to help with mental clarity but it may even go a step further. Intermittent fasting improves various metabolic features known to be important for brain health. This includes reduced oxidative stress, reduced inflammation and a reduction in blood sugar levels and insulin resistance. Intermittent fasting may have important benefits for brain health. It may increase the growth of new neurons and protect the brain from damage.

Are you ready to try Intermittent Fasting?

It doesn’t have to be as scary as we make it out to be. Start by fasting for 12 continuous hours a day and gradually increase that time to 16 hours, one hour at a time.

 

Some simple tips to help you get started:

  • Cut out one food each month that you know is not healthy for you
  • Drink more water, especially during your fasting hours
  • Add essential oils to your water, tea or other drinks to aid the body in detoxing
  • Add ACV(apple cider vinegar) to your daily diet in some way ( try making Good Girl Moonshine- see recipe below)
  • Think of food as fuel and not just something to consume socially or when bored
  • Pick hours that work well for your schedule
  • Drink a large glass of lemon water when you get up in the morning to help start your day off right and aid your body in detoxing and replenishing cells

 

 

Good Girl Moonshine (modified from Trim Healthy Mama)

  • 1-quart size mason jar filled with ice
  • 1-2 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar (start with 1 and work your way up)
  • 1-2 tsp of ground ginger (optional but beneficial and again work your way up)
  • 1-3 drops of YL Vitality citrus oils (grapefruit, lemon, orange, lime, etc. grab them here –> http://bit.ly/simpleblessingsandoils)
  • 1 can of carbonated water

Mix this and sip on it through the day but especially great during fasting hours.

 

See how simple it can be!

Are you ready to feel better, have more energy, less mental fog and maybe drops a few pounds in the process?

Start today and see how good you can feel!

 

As always be grateful & have faith!

God Bless!