Esther for This Time #9 – Creative Solutions and MORE Reversals

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.
Esther for This Time #9

Esther Reigns as Queen

Creative Solutions for Esther & Her People

Do you need some creative solutions for your life?  It may look like there is NO way out, but God working behind the scenes can always give a perfect solution. Today, we watch the reversals in Esther unfold through a second edict as many watching Esther and the nation’s deliverance express a desire for conversion.

In this podcast, we will cover the following points.

Mordecai Authorized to Write a Second Edict (Esther 8: 3-8)

  • Mordecai not only acquired Haman’s wealth and property but also his position.  The king gave him his signet ring making him the second most powerful man in Persia.
  • However, there was still unfinished business! If Haman’s first edict issued in the king’s name was not overturned, all Jews would still be killed. Legally, a king’s edict was irrevocable.
  • For the second time, Esther appeared before the king, and using gentle leadership asked for Haman’s decree to be revoked.
  • The king had given Mordecai his signet ring allowing Mordecai to write whatever he pleased.

Reversals: Jewish People Empowered (Esther 8: 9-10, 13-17 & 16: 15-23[E])

Two months and ten days after Haman issued the first edict, Mordecai summons the king’s secretaries and wrote a second edict that counteracted Haman’s edict, empowering the Jews to defend themselves.  At least six more reversals transpired:

  • Haman‘s edict was written and dispatched to kill the Jews (3: 13-15) The Reversal (8: 10-14): Mordecai’s edict was sealed and dispatched to give the Jews authority to attack those who would attack them.
  • Haman‘s edict becomes the law (3: 14) The Reversal (8: 10-14): Mordecai’s writ becomes a decree that all must obey.
  • Mordecai mourns in sackcloth, and ashes (4: 1). The Reversal (8: 15): Mordecai wears royal robes of blue and white, a crown, and a mantle.
  • Mordecai wails in disgrace at the king’s gate (4: 2). The Reversal (8: 15): Mordecai was honored as the whole city shouted and rejoiced.
  • The Jews mourn in sackcloth and ashes with fasting (4: 3). The Reversal (8: 16): They celebrate a time of gladness, joy, and honor with a royal festival and holiday.
  • The Jews were weak and dispersed in the culture (3: 8). The Reversal (8: 17): The turnarounds brought about such fear of the Jews that many Persians converted or said they were Jews.

Personal Reflection

Do you need creative solutions and more reversals? Don’t give up.  Ask our Lord to show you creative solutions for your impossible situations. Invite the Holy Spirit to open your eyes and your ears to what you don’t yet see.   Remember God loves reversals and His solutions are always the best solutions and they will bring JOY!! Principles from Esther to help guide you in difficult times might include:

  1. When God defeats your enemies, they are vanquished.
  2. Assemble with others for increased strength to defeat foes.
  3. God can give gladness, joy, and honor to replace sadness, darkness, and despair.
  4. When people observe reversals and empowerment on your behalf, it could lead to turnarounds, change of heart or conversions.

Links

“For Nothing Is Impossible with God” – A JOY-Filled ADVENT # 2

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.
A Joy-Filled Advent - Nothing is Impossible with God

A Joy-Filled Advent The Annunciation- Nothing is Impossible with God

JOY in Nazareth

Welcome to A JOY-filled Advent, Podcast #2.  It’s based on my book The Joy of Advent: Journey with the People, Events and Prayers at the First Coming of Jesus Christ.  Last week we met the Archangel Gabriel, who appeared to Zechariah in the temple after 430 years of silence from heaven. When Zechariah disbelieved his announcement, Gabriel gave him a 9-month silent retreat.  This week, we follow Luke 1: 26 to a small town in Galilee, the hometown of Mary and Joseph, to hear another announcement called The Annunciation in the Catholic Church.  Join our journey today as we visit Mary, hear of a Savior to be born, and learn that “nothing is impossible with God.”

 Another Message from Gabriel (Luke 1: 26-30)

  • The powerful Archangel Gabriel brings the second announcement– this time to a young girl in Nazareth.
  • This most important heavenly Annunciation comes to a girl in a remote village where you might least expect it to occur. BUT God causes miracles to happen in the most unlikely and even ungodly places when people are open to Him.
  • The recipient of the Great Annunciation is Mary, a virgin teenager, engaged to Joseph in the lineage of David, which points to the Old Testament prophesies soon to be fulfilled.

Jesus Name by His Heavenly Father (Luke 1: 31-33)

  • The Baby would be named Jesus, Yeshua in Hebrew and derived from Yahweh – the Most Holy Name of God in the Old Testament. The message is clear: Yahweh God would name His son Yeshua after Himself.
  • Truly, Jesus would be the Son of God and fulfill  Isaiah 7: 14: Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel (God with us).

Mary’s Fiat (Luke 1: 34-38)

  • “Fiat” is the first word of Luke 1: 38 in the early Latin Bible translation and it means “let it be.” This was Mary’s “YES.”  
  • Mary received the Word of God, surrendered, and entrusted herself and her life to God’s will. Mary gives us this example of how to seek and accept God’s will: Listen, Dialogue with God, and Surrender.

God’s Power

  • Some may find it hard to believe in the virgin birth. But the virgin birth and incarnation are essential parts of our Christian faith.
  • The incarnation means God became man, reaching out to mankind.  In no other religion does God “become flesh” (John 1: 14), “accept the limitations of humanity,” come to earth to show His love, and then die for the sins of all (Fulton Sheen, 1958, Life of Christ, p. 19). St. Augustine says that when we cannot understand this miracle, “Let us grant that God can do something which we confess we cannot fathom. God is the God of the impossible!” (John Willis, 2002, Teachings of the Church Fathers).
  • For example, Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli told God he felt barren in his old age and then received a great miracle!
  • If you are unsure about God’s power to accomplish miracles or significant changes in your own life, consider this: If God can supernaturally beget the Son of God in a virgin and give an old woman Elizabeth, past her time of conceiving a child, God can fix the barrenness in your life too. If you feel unproductive or barren, ask the Holy Spirit to come upon you in new ways and to open new doors where least expected. He will give you a breakthrough! “For nothing is impossible with God!”

Links

Consider hosting a weekly one-hour Cup of Joy small group study that accompanies one of the podcast series, especially this one:  A Joy-filled Advent: Journey with the People, Events, and Prayers.

Read more on hosting a CUP of JOY Women or Gathering small groups.  For information, please email karen@wrapyourselfinjoy.com

You can download a Bookmark of prayer points from A Joy-filled Advent Podcast #1 at my website: WRAPYourselfinJOY.com.

Check out more podcasts here!

Click here to find the book: The Joy of Advent: Journey with the People, Events and Prayers at the First Coming of Jesus Christ.

Toward Forgiveness

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Joseph in the Old Testament

In the story of Joseph, we find an example of forgiveness. Joseph not only forgives his brothers for the wrong they did to him but restores and blesses them. The verses below show a small piece of the story.

Scripture

” Joseph prepared his chariot and went up to meet his father Israel in Goshen. As soon as Israel made his appearance, Joseph threw his arms around him and wept a long time on his shoulder.” Genesis 46:29

“And Joseph provided food for his father and brothers and his father’s whole household, down to the youngest.”  Genesis 47:12

‘Thus you shall say to Joseph: Please forgive the criminal wrongdoing of your brothers, who treated you harmfully.’ So now please forgive the crime that we, the servants of the God of your father, committed.” When they said this to him, Joseph broke into tears. Then his brothers also proceeded to fling themselves down before him and said, “We are your slaves!” But Joseph replied to them: “Do not fear. Can I take the place of God?  Even though you meant harm to me, God meant it for good, to achieve this present end, the survival of many people.” Genesis 50:17-20

Joseph as a  ‘Type’

We can see a foreshadowing of Jesus in this story of Joseph. He saves his family, the family of Israel, in a time of famine. He forgives his brothers. He restores his brothers and gives them land and herds.

This week, forgive someone.

Would you like to have me speak at your parish or ministry? I’d be happy to join you in person or virtually. Start the conversation! 

Esther & Turnaround JOY #10 – Celebrating God’s Goodness & Purim

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Are you looking for encouragement and JOY? Esther will help you celebrate. <yoastmark class=

Are you looking for encouragement and JOY?  Esther will help you celebrate God’s goodness. When you recall and celebrate what God has done,  your faith is strengthened, you are inspired to trust Him more, and you are encouraged with hope. For Esther and all Jewish families, the annual Feast of Purim celebration helps them recall that God delivered them and will continue to deliver them. Join our podcast today to joyously celebrate God’s goodness and faithfulness as we review the many turnarounds in the Book of Esther.

Reversals Continue

Approximately two months and ten days after the first decree was issued, Mordecai wrote the second edict, which empowered the Jewish people to defend themselves against their enemies. The turnarounds were astounding! Today, we share at least 15 reversals and cover these points:

No Plundering (Esther 9: 1-17)

  • To plunder means to steal goods during a war for your profit.
  • The Jew people remembered the violation of God’s commands in their heritage (1 Samuel 15) and acted in holy retribution for self-defense but took no plunder for their profit.

 The Feast of Purim Established Forever (Esther 9: 18 – 10: 3)

  • Mordecai and Esther declare two days of celebration in an official decree to be remembered forever.
  • Purim means “lots” or dice which is what Haman used to pick the date for the annihilation.
  • The Book of Esther (also called the Megillah) is read twice during the Feast (the date in March is based on the Hebrew calendar). Children “boo and hiss” and throw popcorn when they hear Haman’s name.
  • Today, families bring gifts to the poor, give gifts to each other, and eat fruit-filled triangular cookies called Hamantashens [haa·muhn·taa·shn] or Haman’s Ears. They are delicious! You can pick up a recipe card on my website WRAPYourselfinJOY.com or in my book.

Banquets and Feasts in Esther

  • The Book of Esther shows us joy; Esther begins with a banquet and ends with a feast.
  • Four pairs of feasts celebrate the turnarounds and triumphs of God.

The Dream, Memory, and Plot (Esther 10 – 16).

  • Esther 10 -16 or deuterocanonical additions A – F suggest Mordecai remembers a Dream. It foretold God’s deliverance relating to the main events in Esther plus the chapters add a few details to the occurrences.

The Hero of the Book of Esther is GOD

  • God used the beautiful Esther, caused the sleeplessness of the king, brought down Haman, exalted Mordecai, and gave the Jewish people victory over their enemies.
  • God showed tremendous power on behalf of his people. Almost like fireworks, the reversals came quickly and spectacularly, fifteen in all.

Remembering God’s Goodness

  • The Feast of Purim, still celebrated yearly in the Jewish tradition, helps Jewish families remember God has delivered them and will continue to deliver them.
  • Psalm 77 calls us all to remember God’s goodness.

Personal Reflection

  1. Do you set aside time to remember, joyously celebrate and thank God for what He has done for you?
  2. Do you call upon God for creative solutions or turnarounds when problems arise?
  3. Are you encouraging others that God intervenes in history when his people seek him with prayer, repentance, and fasting?

New Podcast Series

Join my podcast this summer, Nehemiah-Rebuiding HOPE.  If you would like to host a weekly one-hour “Cup of Joy Women” study on Nehemiah with your friends, go to:  https://wrapyourselfinjoy.com/ or email me: WRAPYourselfinJOY7@gmail.com.  I will send free materials to help you get started.

Links

Are you participating in your faith life?

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Scripture

He entered a boat, made the crossing, and came into his own town. And there people brought to him a paralytic lying on a stretcher. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Courage, child, your sins are forgiven.” At that, some of the scribes said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming.” Jesus knew what they were thinking, and said, “Why do you harbor evil thoughts which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he then said to the paralytic, “Rise, pick up your stretcher, and go home.” Matthew 9:1-6

Do you accept what is offered?

Do ever feel as if you are not participating in your own spiritual or faith life? Maybe waiting for Jesus to do it all? In the passage, we can see that yes, Jesus is forgiving but the man accepts what Jesus does for him and acts on Jesus’ words. (I’m saying man, but it could be a woman.)

Do we ever sit there with a great idea, thinking, not me, nope, it’s for someone else? Let’s stop thinking Jesus isn’t offering us the best or the forgiveness or healing or a gift. Why can’t it be you?

Faith and Action

We can do both. And if our action seems daunting, pray this prayer, “Lord, I believe you have asked me to do what I am about to do, but if it is not what you want me to, please stop me.”

This week, pray to put fully participate in your faith life. If you get a direction from God, do it!

And, please, drop me a comment about how it goes or suggest a topic for discussion! I love to hear from listeners.

 

A Eucharistic Revival

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Catholics having a revival

Yes, we are, starting on June 19, 2022, until July 17, 2024. That is two years to unpack the riches of the Eucharist, grow individually in your personal relationship with the Lord, and change the world!

Take a look here at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ National Eucharistic Revival website to keep up-to-date and informed as to the why and how of the next two years.

Scripture

“I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.”
(John 6:51)

Jesus is present in the Eucharist

In the Gospel of John, chapter 6, when many people left because they could not accept what Jesus was telling them and offering them, he does not correct them or soften the truth. Jesus can only speak truth because he is the Truth!

Three ways to get Close to Jesus in the Eucharist

  • Go to Mass and receive Communion. You can do this every day, not only on Sundays.
  • Spend time with Jesus in a church or chapel, where he is present in the Tabernacle.
  • Go to Adoration.

This week, do one of the three suggestions as to how to get closer to Jesus. I encourage you to do this in person, not virtually. There is something you receive from being physically present with Jesus. Ask him what he wants for you. Ask him what he wants from you. Spend time in his prescence and your relationship with him will greatly benefit.

 

 

Peter denies, Jesus forgives

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

What is sin?

Simply put, it is missing the mark. In the Gospels, the story of Peter denying Jesus and then being able to be forgiven by Jesus after the resurrection is such a clear example of how much love Jesus has for each one of us.

Scripture

John 18: 17, 25-27 is where you can find Peter being asked three times if he knows Jesus and three times he denies knowing Our Lord. And then the cock crows and Peter remembers Jesus’ words from the Last Supper.

What a weight that must have been for Peter to carry as he watched Jesus die on the cross, bury him and then wait for his return. Jesus does rise and Peter interacts with him. And then, Jesus asks Peter three times, “Do you love me?” in John 21:15-17.

Sin is gone

Peter is no longer burdened by his denial of Jesus. He can move forward, leading the apostles to spread the Good News. That is what forgiveness does; it gives us the freedom to live the life we are called to live in Christ.

Write a letter to Jesus about your sins. List them, ask for forgiveness, pour out your heart to him and invite him in to take your sin away.

(As always, if you are Catholic, consider confession.)

Get a sample of my Bible study book when you sign up for my emails.

Unlocking Freedom with Jesus

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

We live in a fallen world. No news there. We long for something to help us. We often look in many places before coming to the One who can help us. Unbound is a prayer process that can help us rid ourselves of past sins and hurts by others. Even those of us who receive the sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation often hold onto our sins, refusing to forgive ourselves though God has done so.

If after listening to this episode you are interested in learning more, go to the Heart of the Father website. 

There are 5 Keys to Unbound:

  1. Repentance & Faith
  2. Forgiveness
  3. Renunciation
  4. Authority
  5. The Father’s Blessing

All of this is done in the name of Jesus. It is gentle, though it can be emotional. The prayer is driven by the needs of the person coming for prayer. The person leading the prayer and the intercessor are conduits of God’s mercy and healing.

I encourage everyone to look into this prayer, especially if you feel weary and weighed down by life.  Many times, by surrendering past hurts and lies we have believed about ourselves, that burden is lifted. This process is not a substitute for counseling or medical help, rather, it si of help for our soul.

Another good resource is the book, Unbound by Neal Lozano.

Do you have unresolved burdens or sins in your life? Pray. Thank God for all He has already done for you in these areas and then ask if Unbound is something for you. If it is, go to the website to find a group in your area who can pray with you. If you have nay questions or can’t find someone to pray with you, please email me dgbartalini(at)gmail(dot)com.

Get a sample of my Bible study book when you sign up for my emails.

 

External Change

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Spiritual Makeover continues…

God calls to us and offers to change our stony hearts for those of flesh. Jesus also calls us to conversion. The Gospels are full of stories which point to Jesus healing and leading people to a relationship with God.

2 Stories

In Mark 2:1-12 we see Jesus healing the paralytic. The man is lowered down from the roof by his friends so he can get to Jesus. And Jesus heals him and then tell him to pick up his mat and go home. He gives him directions, a bit task that allows him to participate in the healing. It is not passive.

And then, The Samaritan Woman at the Well in John chapter 4. Yes, Jesus tells the woman her sins, but then also tells her she can be given life giving water; she slowly comes to realize that this is the Messiah they have been waiting for and tells the other people in town. They to come to believe.

What’s our part?

Jesus calls us for conversion not condemnation. This is important to us for 2 reasons: so we know what he wants of us and to do the same with others. We are called to share the light of Christ with those around us. And the world needs the Light!

Internally we may change, but we need to externally change as well. This is how we lead people to Jesus, by our example, our behavior. So onto the

This week, think and pray about how some of your behaviors might need to change. Is it to stop yelling at your children, spouse or others; remember to spend some time in prayer each day; go back to regular worship with your community – whatever it may be, let’s start having our internal change and external behavior match more closely with each other.

 

Abundance or Scarcity?

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

It’s an often asked question of people, are you an optimist or pessimist? If we are living as God calls us, then our answer is hopefully, optimist. We have a God of abundance, not scarcity.

What does the Bible say?

I’m going to focus on two passages. From the Old Testament we have the story of manna in the desert, Exodus 16. God gave this food for the people to eat, enough for a day to teach them to trust and rely on him. However, he didn’t give them a small amount, he allowed them to take as much as they wanted as long as they didn’t save it. God provides in abundance for today! And then, in the New Testament is the multiplication of the loaves and fish from Matthew, 15:32-38. The disciples show a bit of hesitancy that they can feed all of these people gathered. But Jesus has none. He takes what is provided, and multiplies is so that there is enough with leftovers.

What does this mean?

God provides us with what we need, when we need it. Jesus shows us time and again with his life that we have been given what we need to live. Whenever we think we have a scarcity, offer that bit to God and see what happens.

Who do we live?

I think we live as if we have all that we need. So give away your time, your good deeds. Stop saving things for a special time and use them to care fort hose you love.  Shift from thinking I need more or what if I need it later to God will provide and whatever I use up or give away will come back to me at the right time.

This week, focus on living abundantly. List all the gifts God has given you and find a way to share them with others, knowing Goad will provide for tomorrow.

Jesus, the Son of God

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Do you ever wonder where we would be without Jesus? I know I would not be a tenth of the person I am today without him and my faith in him So who is Jesus, well, he is the second person of the Trinity, God the Son. He is incarnate, which means he took on human flesh, became a person like us in all things but sin and came to this world to save us.

The incarnation is JJesus, Second person of the Trinityesus taking on our humanity. But the Incarnation also gives us a share in his divinity. Jesus’ birth and death gives us a renewed hope and belief that we too, will one day be in heaven. The Incarnation is a foundational belief.  It is the basis for believing and understanding Jesus’ mission, which is to save us, the purpose of his church and his eventual second coming.

For thousands of years, God called his people to himself, but they often turned away. So, “when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to ransom those under the law, so that we might receive adoption” (Gal 4:4-5).

Jesus is our redeemer.  He took on our sins, all the consequences of them and paid our debt to the Father. His Passion and Death, his ultimate sacrifice – saved us from our sins, reconciled us to the Father and opened the gates of heaven

One way in which Jesus was different than us is that He lived a life of total and complete obedience to his Father. In the Garden of Gethsemane when he knew his death was imminent, he prayed for God’s will to be done, not his. His suffering on the cross was real and true and painful. He suffered in his humanity; that suffering was possible because of his divinity.

Jesus rose from the dead and bodily ascended into heaven. He promised his Father would send the Holy Spirit to us to help us, guide us, and empower us. The Spirit forms us in the likeness of Jesus. We live in continual conversion toward God and away from sin.

Jesus reveals the Father to us, for he is visible. His desire is for us to enter into a relationship with him based on our free love for him. Just as God the Father does not force us to love him, neither does Jesus.

Jesus intends for us to become holy and partake of his divine nature. The more we go to Him in prayer and ask for what we need, the more we will receive. We can look at his life as an example, he shows us the way to holiness.

the not lukewarm challenge This our challenge is to pray the Jesus prayer, “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”

For more information about the Jesus prayer, take a look here.