9-30-16 Daily E-Votional

Posted September 29, 2016 by luciaoerter
Categories: God Stuff

DSC_8351Friday, Sept. 30

Hosea 4:11-19

The wise ones in life talk about having balance. … .. having balance in life. This is a good reminder that life is not all one thing even though we often look at it as all one thing.

For example, if you like to ride your bike, it is not wise to get so consumed with bike riding that it takes over your life. It’s not all about bike riding. Substitute whatever you like to do in that “ride your bike” slot and the statement might become more real for you.

I think about this statement when I have a sewing project and a deadline for that project. I am driven. I want to complete all of the other tasks in remarkable time so I can get to my sewing project. I might even think that I don’t have to attend to the others tasks because it’s all about the sewing project. Even writing these last few lines makes me want to get to my sewing machine and finish the project I started a Spring or two ago.

It’s okay to set aside some time for a particular project, but when it becomes your every thing, or your only thing in life, your focus wanders away from the other pieces of your life.

Deep life happenings bring a journey inward to regain balance. Life is not all one thing. Not all good. Not all bad. Life is. God is.

4:11        “Wine and whiskey

              leave my people in a stupor. 

12    They ask questions of a dead tree,

              expect answers from a sturdy walking stick.

       Drunk on sex, they can’t find their way home.

              They’ve replaced their God with their genitals. 

13    They worship on the tops of mountains,

              make a picnic out of religion.

       Under the oaks and elms on the hills

              they stretch out and take it easy.

       Before you know it, your daughters are whores

              and the wives of your sons are sleeping around. 

14    But I’m not going after your whoring daughters

              or the adulterous wives of your sons.

       It’s the men who pick up the whores that I’m after,

              the men who worship at the holy whorehouses—

              a stupid people, ruined by whores!

15    “You’ve ruined your own life, Israel—

              but don’t drag Judah down with you!

       Don’t go to the sex shrine at Gilgal,

              don’t go to that sin city Bethel,

       Don’t go around saying ‘GOD bless you’ and not mean it,

              taking God’s name in vain. 

16    Israel is stubborn as a mule.

              How can GOD lead him like a lamb to open pasture? 

17    Ephraim is addicted to idols.

              Let him go. 

18    When the beer runs out,

              it’s sex, sex, and more sex.

       Bold and sordid debauchery—

              how they love it! 

19    The whirlwind has them in its clutches.

              Their sex-worship leaves them finally impotent. 

So, the words of the text today paint a crystal clear picture. Like Hosea’s wife Gomer, Israel had forsaken the true God and gone after idols. You will notice that God’s response was to Ephraim was to let him go.

What things have you learned about balance in your own life? When are you aware that you are way “too into” something? What things do you notice about friends or family members who seem like they’ve fixated on one thing in their life? In what ways did God bless you in the past week? In what ways have you felt close to God in the last week? Have a Day!!

In Conversation with a child today:   Ask a child to tell you what they love about each of their family members

Prayers for our soldiers and others fighting for our country:

Remember in Prayer:    Dick, Diane, Frank & Jean, Carolyn & family, Dennis, Heidi, Barb, Sue, Michael Paul’s mother, Vivian

And those experiencing loss – family & friends of:  Edward, Doris, Angela

Prayer:   Your love for us, O God, is amazing. We often take your love for granted. Help us in this day, in each conversation, in each glance into another’s eyes, to see you and to know you are with us. Help us exercise balance in our lives. Amen

Your E-Votional Servant

Lucia

© 2016 Lucia Oerter

All rights reserved

Email Lucia

The Message Bible – contemporary translation

A ministry at Pines Presbyterian Church, 12751 Kimberley Lane, Houston, TX

9-29-16 Daily E-Votional

Posted September 28, 2016 by luciaoerter
Categories: God Stuff

daily-routineThursday, Sept. 29

Hosea 4:1-10

I’ve found that I like routines. I’ve also found that I like to mix up routines. I know. I’m on both sides of this. Routines bring us security and trust. It is often those same routines that bring us security that then keep us from trying something new.

If I am one who finds comfort in taking the exact same driving route each day, I am often able to see changes occur along the route. We become aware of our surroundings and expect things to be in the same location. It is also possible that taking the same route each and every day may keep me from seeing something I might otherwise miss. Maybe, if I drove just one more block past my limited route, I might the next friend in my life. I might see a person who needs my help. I might see that I was newly experiencing a better route to reach my destination. I miss the opportunities by staying in the same routine.

If I am one who finds comfort in the same old, same old, I may never see what new things I might like. My desire to rest in the known, keeps me from every experiencing an unknown that is waiting to be known. Routines.

4:1          Attention all Israelites! GOD’S Message!

              GOD indicts the whole population:

       “No one is faithful. No one loves.

              No one knows the first thing about God. 

2     All this cussing and lying and killing, theft and loose sex,

              sheer anarchy, one murder after another! 

3     And because of all this, the very land itself weeps

              and everything in it is grief-stricken—

       animals in the fields and birds on the wing,

              even the fish in the sea are listless, lifeless.

  

4     “But don’t look for someone to blame.

              No finger pointing!

       You, priest, are the one in the dock. 

5             You stumble around in broad daylight,

       And then the prophets take over and stumble all night.

       Your mother is as bad as you. 

6     My people are ruined

              because they don’t know what’s right or true.

       Because you’ve turned your back on knowledge,

              I’ve turned my back on you priests.

       Because you refuse to recognize the revelation of God,

              I’m no longer recognizing your children. 

7     The more priests, the more sin.

              They traded in their glory for shame. 

8     They pig out on my people’s sins.

              They can’t wait for the latest in evil. 

9     The result: You can’t tell the people from the priests,

              the priests from the people.

       I’m on my way to make them both pay

              and take the consequences of the bad lives they’ve lived. 

10    They’ll eat and be as hungry as ever,

              have sex and get no satisfaction.

       They walked out on me, their GOD,

              for a life of rutting with whores.

The priests and the prophets did not teach the Word or help the people know God. The religious services were popular, but the people were being destroyed for lack of a true spiritual knowledge. It became a religious routine.

What things in your life have become very much a routine for you? What is the upside of routine? What is a down side of having a set routine? When have you worked very hard at stepping out of your routine? How did you do? What new things did you learn when you pushed outside of a regular routine?  Have a day!

In Conversation with a child today:   Ask a child to tell you why the shining moon seems to last for such a short amount of time

Prayers for our soldiers and others fighting for our country:

Remember in Prayer:    Dick, Diane, Frank & Jean, Carolyn & family, Dennis, Heidi, Barb, Sue, Michael Paul’s mother, Vivian

And those experiencing loss – family & friends of:  Edward, Doris, Angela

Prayer:   O God, we pray for your love to surround us. We thank you for the moments of life you give us. We give you thanks for those routines that help build us up. We give you thanks for the times we are able to step out of our routines and embrace something new. Walk with us this day. Amen

Your E-Votional Servant

Lucia

© 2016 Lucia Oerter

All rights reserved

Email Lucia

The Message Bible – contemporary translation

A ministry at Pines Presbyterian Church, 12751 Kimberley Lane, Houston, TX

9-28-16 Daily E-Votional

Posted September 27, 2016 by luciaoerter
Categories: God Stuff

toughloveWednesday, Sept. 28

Hosea 3:1-5

There are parents I have met over the years who have had a complicated and/or a conflicted relationship with a child of theirs. In one family, the parent actually had a conflicted relationship with both of her children.

I probably don’t need to say that raising children is not for sissies. In our world today, it takes great strength and perseverance to parent a child. Oh, those little newborns with their cooing, gurgling, and grunting can’t be anything but cute. In a blink of an eye, the little ones train us so we will know who is really in charge. Before we have time to think clearly, we find ourselves lacking sleep and wondering how we’ll ever regain the upper hand so we can make it for the long haul. Parenting takes strength and confidence. Parents need to be grounded and remember that the children who come into their care are placed there for nurturing and guidance. Often the parents’ decisions are not so well received by their children. The parents who have come into my office seeking guidance often find that parenting is going to involve a tougher love that they never imagined needing. Tough love is not mean. Tough love is love that helps in guiding a soul back to love and back to God’s grace.

3:1   Then GOD ordered me, “Start all over: Love your wife again, your wife who’s in bed with her latest boyfriend, your

              cheating wife.

Love her the way I, GOD, love the Israelite people, even as they flirt and party with every god that takes their fancy.”  

2     I did it. I paid good money to get her back.

              It cost me the price of a slave. 

3     Then I told her, “From now on you’re living with me.

              No more whoring, no more sleeping around.

              You’re living with me and I’m living with you.”

4     The people of Israel are going to live a long time

              stripped of security and protection,

       without religion and comfort,

              godless and prayerless. 

5     But in time they’ll come back, these Israelites,

              come back looking for their GOD and their David-King.

       They’ll come back chastened to reverence

              before GOD and his good gifts, ready for the End of the story of his love.

Hosea still loved his wife and bought her back, but he required that she be in time out for a bit. Hosea was reclaiming his wife; here understood as a prophetic image of Israel remaining many days without a king and without sacrifice before their eventual return to their God and David their king.

When have you witnessed tough love? How would you describe the difference between parents who were abusive and parents who were exercising tough love? Do both the parent and child experience the tough part of tough love? Did your parents ever have to initiate tough love with you or your siblings? Have you had to use tough love on your children? What is your understanding and what are your thoughts on tough love? Have a day!

In Conversation with a child today:   Ask a child to tell you how they know their parents love them

Prayers for our soldiers and others fighting for our country:

Remember in Prayer:    Dick, Diane, Frank & Jean, Carolyn & family, Dennis, Heidi, Barb, Sue, Michael Paul’s mother, Vivian

Prayer Request:  Prayers for Dick who is a awesome and sweet guy who is struggling with pneumonia right now. Prayers for quick and thorough healing and release from the hospital.  Lucia

And those experiencing loss – family & friends of:  Edward, Doris, Angela

Prayer:   O God, we thank you for your love for us. We thank you for loving us even when we feel that we are unlovable. Thank you for the many mentors in our lives who help us in our formation. May we extend your love to others this day. Amen

Your E-Votional Servant

Lucia

© 2016 Lucia Oerter

All rights reserved

Email Lucia

The Message Bible – contemporary translation

A ministry at Pines Presbyterian Church, 12751 Kimberley Lane, Houston, TX

 

9-27-16 Daily E-Votional

Posted September 26, 2016 by luciaoerter
Categories: God Stuff

il_fullxfull.322089808Tuesday, Sept. 27

Hosea 2:16-23

Much like a friendship, the marriage relationship seems to evolve daily. We learn new things about one another and that informs who we are as a couple. I remember the pre-marital counseling John and I experienced with Bern. There was an exercise in Harville Hendrix’s book, Getting the Love You Want, that really helped us remember that marriage is ever changing. In the exercise the couple is to identify what their partner is doing that really pleases them. The next part of the exercise is to identify the romantic stage of your relationship and list the things that your partner did that really pleased you then. The exercise goes on to a few more steps but it really was an ah-ha moment for me. I’m not sure if it’s intentional or not, but some people live in a marriage where they try to keep their spouse in a particular suspended time and place.

Let’s think of an example. It may be that your spouse always brought you a bouquet of flowers on special occasions. As the years moved along, you found that you weren’t as excited about receiving flowers. Maybe you had moved onto chocolates or desired a surprise of some kind. Your spouse is then confused because they thought they knew you so well that bringing you flowers pleased you. They wonder what they were doing wrong. You distinctly said that you loved it when they brought you flowers previously. You wonder why they can’t be original. Change happens. We evolve.

2:16        “At that time”—this is GOD’S Message still—

              “you’ll address me, ‘Dear husband!’

       Never again will you address me,

              ‘My slave-master!’ 

17    I’ll wash your mouth out with soap,

              get rid of all the dirty false-god names,

              not so much as a whisper of those names again. 

18    At the same time I’ll make a peace treaty between you

              and wild animals and birds and reptiles,

       And get rid of all weapons of war.

              Think of it! Safe from beasts and bullies! 

19    And then I’ll marry you for good—forever!

              I’ll marry you true and proper, in love and tenderness. 

20    Yes, I’ll marry you and neither leave you nor let you go.

              You’ll know me, GOD, for who I really am.

  

21    “On the very same day, I’ll answer”—this is GOD’S Message—

              “I’ll answer the sky, sky will answer earth, 

22    Earth will answer grain and wine and olive oil,

              and they’ll all answer Jezreel. 

23    I’ll plant her in the good earth.

              I’ll have mercy on No-Mercy.

       I’ll say to Nobody, ‘You’re my dear Somebody,’

              and he’ll say ‘You’re my God!’”

This section is heavy laden with marriage images. Just as Hosea reclaimed his wife, so God will one day reclaim the people, renew the covenant, and restore the people to be a blessing. Jezreel means “God will sow” and refers to God’s planting the people again in their land where God will love them and bless them. The names will be changed.

When have you been aware that a friend was not acting like what you were used to? If you were in junior high when this happened, what resolution do you think you might have implemented? When have you chosen to do something that was quite out of character for you? How were you aware that others noticed the change in how you were behaving? What is one relationship you are in that has continued to evolve? Have a day!

In Conversation with a child today:   Ask a child to tell you something they can do today that they could not do when they were a baby

Prayers for our soldiers and others fighting for our country:

Remember in Prayer:    Frank & Jean, Carolyn & family, Dennis, Heidi, Barb, Sue, Michael Paul’s mother, Vivian

And those experiencing loss – family & friends of:  Edward, Doris, Angela

Prayer:    O God, this is the day you have made. You have blessed us so much. Help us to live in this day with our thoughts focused on your will and desire of us. Be with us in our relationships and grow us in your ways. Amen

Your E-Votional Servant

Lucia

© 2016 Lucia Oerter

All rights reserved

Email Lucia

The Message Bible – contemporary translation

A ministry at Pines Presbyterian Church, 12751 Kimberley Lane, Houston, TX

 

9-26-16 Daily E-Votional

Posted September 25, 2016 by luciaoerter
Categories: God Stuff

97A2CDC6-4632-4BCC-8CAA-6879DAD91563Monday, Sept. 26

Hosea 2:1-15

I haven’t been much for staying up with my high school reunions. That’s probably because I didn’t feel so connected during high school. I have some friends who are dear to me from back in the day, but I stay in touch with them throughout the year. A reunion for me just tries to go back to something that’s back there and not in the present.

I think it was the 20 year reunion when I was so taken by one set of twins from my class, Janet and Jane. I’ve probably got this backwards, but Jane seemed to be a real witch in high school. There was nothing stopping Jane from saying what she had on her mind. What another person felt when Jane spoke was not something Jane thought about. What Jane said was all that matter to Jane. Jane’s twin, Janet, was just as nice as could be. For as mean as Jane could be, Jane seemed to be a person with feelings and some people skills. I figured Jane would be a C.E.O. of a company and quite a natural at telling people where to go and what to do when they got there. Janet seemed like she would be a nanny or Kindergarten teacher.

It was pretty shocking to find that the twins had pretty much switched personalities. Janet acted like a witch and Jane was a kind and social person. Talk about unpredictable. It would have been better if both of them landed on the nice side. Maybe that happened at the following reunion that I didn’t attend.

2:1          “Rename your brothers ‘God’s Somebody.’

              Rename your sisters ‘All Mercy.’

2     “Haul your mother into court. Accuse her!

              She’s no longer my wife.

              I’m no longer her husband.

       Tell her to quit dressing like a whore,

              displaying her breasts for sale. 

3     If she refuses, I’ll rip off her clothes

              and expose her, naked as a newborn.

       I’ll turn her skin into dried-out leather,

              her body into a badlands landscape,

              a rack of bones in the desert. 

4     I’ll have nothing to do with her children,

              born one and all in a whorehouse. 

5     Face it: Your mother’s been a whore,

              bringing bastard children into the world.

       She said, ‘I’m off to see my lovers!

              They’ll wine and dine me,

       Dress and caress me,

              perfume and adorn me!’ 

6     But I’ll fix her: I’ll dump her in a field of thistles,

              then lose her in a dead-end alley. 

7     She’ll go on the hunt for her lovers

              but not bring down a single one.

       She’ll look high and low

              but won’t find a one. Then she’ll say,

       ‘I’m going back to my husband, the one I started out with.

              That was a better life by far than this one.’ 

8     She didn’t know that it was I all along

              who wined and dined and adorned her,

       That I was the one who dressed her up

              in the big-city fashions and jewelry

              that she wasted on wild Baal-orgies. 

9     I’m about to bring her up short: No more wining and dining!

              Silk lingerie and gowns are a thing of the past. 

10    I’ll expose her genitals to the public.

              All her fly-by-night lovers will be helpless to help her. 

11    Party time is over. I’m calling a halt to the whole business,

              her wild weekends and unholy holidays. 

12    I’ll wreck her sumptuous gardens and ornamental fountains,

              of which she bragged, ‘Whoring paid for all this!’

       They will soon be dumping grounds for garbage,

              feeding grounds for stray dogs and cats. 

13    I’ll make her pay for her indulgence in promiscuous religion—

              all that sensuous Baal worship

       And all the promiscuous sex that went with it,

              stalking her lovers, dressed to kill,

       And not a thought for me.”

              GOD’S Message!

14    “And now, here’s what I’m going to do:

              I’m going to start all over again.

       I’m taking her back out into the wilderness

              where we had our first date, and I’ll court her. 

15    I’ll give her bouquets of roses.

              I’ll turn Heartbreak Valley into Acres of Hope.

       She’ll respond like she did as a young girl,

              those days when she was fresh out of Egypt.

Hosea had a pretty complicated marriage/remarriage and his wife, Gomer, was pretty complicated. Their children’s names meant, God will sow, no mercy, and not my people. God withheld mercy from the people because they were being unfaithful to God. We hear that in today’s text when we hear about the fruitfulness of the land being taken away.

What are some of the stories you have heard about yourself that help you understand what you were like as a child? In what ways are you like the person you were in your childhood? Who are some people you knew in your earlier years and they are now the total opposite from the kind of person they were back then? Have a day!

In Conversation with a child today:   Ask a child to tell you about some people they know who seem very nice to them

Prayers for our soldiers and others fighting for our country:

Remember in Prayer:    Frank & Jean, Carolyn & family, Dennis, Heidi, Barb, Sue, Michael Paul’s mother, Vivian

And those experiencing loss – family & friends of:  Edward, Doris, Angela

Prayer:   We love you, O God, and we thank you for the gift of life. We thank you for the times we have walked in your ways and followed your lead. Help us in each day to keep moving that direction and know that you have a specific purpose for each of us. Amen

Your E-Votional Servant

Lucia

© 2016 Lucia Oerter

All rights reserved

Email Lucia

The Message Bible – contemporary translation

A ministry at Pines Presbyterian Church, 12751 Kimberley Lane, Houston, TX

9-25-16 Daily E-Votional

Posted September 24, 2016 by luciaoerter
Categories: God Stuff

when-i-grow-upSunday, Sept. 25

Hosea 1:1-2:1

Have you ever know some people who seem to have a sense of what they want to do in life a lot sooner than others? Some people just act like they’ve had their future plans and vocation all figured out from their very early years.

All I knew for sure is that I would get a job one day, but I had no sense of what career might be just the right one for me.

In high school, we were given an assignment to write a paper that showed that we had researched a career that was of interest to us. I think we may have taken a skills test to help us with the research paper. Even with the summary of my skills printed off, I just didn’t find any career that really excited me. All the careers seemed so boring and limiting. I also hadn’t experienced adults who were actually excited about their work in the first place.

Some of my friends researched careers in nursing and teaching. Some of those friends even had a good idea of what age grouping they wanted to work with when they stepped into their career. They even had a clear sense of what their classroom would look like and what grade levels they would and would not teach. I guess I don’t need to say that my research paper was pretty lame. I wanted to add to life, but I was pretty clueless how that was going to come about in my life.

It was only a year or two later that God placed the call to ministry on my heart. I knew that God was going to do something in me but it took many more years to have that picture come into a clearer focus.

Hosea 1:1   This is God’s Message to Hosea son of Beeri. It came to him during the royal reigns of Judah’s kings Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah. This was also the time that Jeroboam son of Joash was king over Israel.

2   The first time GOD spoke to Hosea he said: “Find a whore and marry her. Make this whore the mother of your children. And here’s why: This whole country has become a whorehouse, unfaithful to me, GOD.” 

3   Hosea did it. He picked Gomer daughter of Diblaim. She got pregnant and gave him a son. 

4   Then GOD told him: “Name him Jezreel. It won’t be long now before I’ll make the people of Israel pay for the massacre at Jezreel. I’m calling it quits on the kingdom of Israel. 

5     Payday is coming! I’m going to chop Israel’s bows and arrows into kindling in the valley of Jezreel.”

6   Gomer got pregnant again. This time she had a daughter. GOD told Hosea: “Name this one No-Mercy. I’m fed up with Israel. I’ve run out of mercy. There’s no more forgiveness. 

7     Judah’s another story. I’ll continue having mercy on them. I’ll save them. It will be their GOD who saves them, Not their armaments and armies, not their horsepower and manpower.”

8   After Gomer had weaned No-Mercy, she got pregnant yet again and had a son.  9 GOD said: “Name him Nobody. You’ve become nobodies to me, and I, GOD, am a nobody to you. 

10   “But down the road the population of Israel is going to explode past counting, like sand on the ocean beaches. In the very place where they were once named Nobody, they will be named God’s Somebody.  11 Everybody in Judah and everybody in Israel will be assembled as one people. They’ll choose a single leader. There’ll be no stopping them—a great day in Jezreel!

Hosea preached in the northern kingdom when the nation was prospering outwardly but decaying inwardly and facing certain judgment. Hosea is known for his imagery.

When you think about the life you are living, do you feel that you are a somebody? What would you say characterizes a person who feels like a nobody in life? What do you believe it takes in today’s world to become a somebody? Have a day!

In Conversation with a child today:   Ask a child to tell you what they like about being who they are

Prayers for our soldiers and others fighting for our country:

Remember in Prayer:    Frank & Jean, Carolyn & family, Dennis, Heidi, Barb, Sue, Michael Paul’s mother, Vivian

And those experiencing loss – family & friends of:  Edward, Doris, Angela

Prayer:   This is the day you have made, O God, and we thank you for each day you give us. While there are a lot of unknowns, we trust that you have created us for a reason. May we live more into that reason today. Amen

Your E-Votional Servant

Lucia

© 2016 Lucia Oerter

All rights reserved

Email Lucia

The Message Bible – contemporary translation

A ministry at Pines Presbyterian Church, 12751 Kimberley Lane, Houston, TX

9-24-16 Daily E-Votional

Posted September 23, 2016 by luciaoerter
Categories: God Stuff

02-18-caning_full_600Saturday, Sept. 24

Esther 9:1-32

For some reason, today’s text reminded me of my visits to South Africa soon after the end of apartheid.

What was of great interest to me was a visit to the schools to see the changes that occurred in just a few short years. While speaking with the schoolmaster at one of the schools, it was obvious that he was quite concerned with the predicament the whole country was experiencing since the new way of doing things had come into play. He explained that in previous times the school authorities had always been allowed to cane their students when punishment was needed.

When apartheid ended, caning was banned from the schools. He said he just didn’t know how they would be able to continue on without taking the upper hand. It was obvious that he felt as if his hands had been tied. The schoolmaster was most definitely scared of what the Africans might do to the whites who had been in power.

9:1   On the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the month of Adar, the king’s order came into effect. This was the very day that the enemies of the Jews had planned to overpower them, but the tables were now turned: the Jews overpowered those who hated them!  2 The Jews had gathered in the cities throughout King Xerxes’ provinces to lay hands on those who were seeking their ruin. Not one man was able to stand up against them—fear made cowards of them all.  3 What’s more, all the government officials, satraps, governors—everyone who worked for the king—actually helped the Jews because of Mordecai; they were afraid of him.  4 Mordecai by now was a power in the palace. As Mordecai became more and more powerful, his reputation had grown in all the provinces. 

5   So the Jews finished off all their enemies with the sword, slaughtering them right and left, and did as they pleased to those who hated them.  6 In the palace complex of Susa the Jews massacred five hundred men.  7 They also killed the ten sons of Haman son of Hammedatha, the archenemy of the Jews:   Parshandatha   Dalphon   Aspatha    8     Poratha    Adalia      Aridatha   9     Parmashta       Arisai  Aridai      Vaizatha 

10   But they took no plunder.  11 That day, when it was all over, the number of those killed in the palace complex was given to the king.  12 The king told Queen Esther, “In the palace complex alone here in Susa the Jews have killed five hundred men, plus Haman’s ten sons. Think of the killing that must have been done in the rest of the provinces! What else do you want? Name it and it’s yours. Your wish is my command.” 

13   “If it please the king,” Queen Esther responded, “give the Jews of Susa permission to extend the terms of the order another day. And have the bodies of Haman’s ten sons hanged in public display on the gallows.” 

14   The king commanded it: The order was extended; the bodies of Haman’s ten sons were publicly hanged. 

15   The Jews in Susa went at it again. On the fourteenth day of Adar they killed another three hundred men in Susa. But again they took no plunder. 

16   Meanwhile in the rest of the king’s provinces, the Jews had organized and defended themselves, freeing themselves from oppression. On the thirteenth day of the month of Adar, they killed 75,000 of those who hated them but did not take any plunder.  17 The next day, the fourteenth, they took it easy and celebrated with much food and laughter.  18 But in Susa, since the Jews had banded together on both the thirteenth and fourteenth days, they made the fifteenth their holiday for laughing and feasting.  19 (This accounts for why Jews living out in the country in the rural villages remember the fourteenth day of Adar for celebration, their day for parties and the exchange of gifts.) 

20   Mordecai wrote all this down and sent copies to all the Jews in all King Xerxes’ provinces, regardless of distance,  21 calling for an annual celebration on the fourteenth and fifteenth days of Adar 22 as the occasion when Jews got relief from their enemies, the month in which their sorrow turned to joy, mourning somersaulted into a holiday for parties and fun and laughter, the sending and receiving of presents and of giving gifts to the poor. 

23   And they did it. What started then became a tradition, continuing the practice of what Mordecai had written to them. 

24   Haman son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, the archenemy of all Jews, had schemed to destroy all Jews. He had cast the pur (the lot) to throw them into a panic and destroy them.  25 But when Queen Esther intervened with the king, he gave written orders that the evil scheme that Haman had worked out should boomerang back on his own head. He and his sons were hanged on the gallows.  26 That’s why these days are called “Purim,” from the word pur or “lot.” 

 Therefore, because of everything written in this letter and because of all that they had been through,  27 the Jews agreed to continue. It became a tradition for them, their children, and all future converts to remember these two days every year on the specified dates set down in the letter.  28 These days are to be remembered and kept by every single generation, every last family, every province and city. These days of Purim must never be neglected among the Jews; the memory of them must never die out among their descendants. 

29   Queen Esther, the daughter of Abihail, backed Mordecai the Jew, using her full queenly authority in this second Purim letter 30 to endorse and ratify what he wrote. Calming and reassuring letters went out to all the Jews throughout the 127 provinces of Xerxes’ kingdom 31 to fix these days of Purim their assigned place on the calendar, dates set by Mordecai the Jew—what they had agreed to for themselves and their descendants regarding their fasting and mourning.  32 Esther’s word confirmed the tradition of Purim and was written in the book. 

We discover that the Jews had many enemies throughout the king’s provinces. Had Haman succeeded in his play, the nation would have been annihilated. We are not told how these enemies had been persecuting God’s people, but their day of reckoning finally came. God’s covenant promise to Abraham was kept.

What events in history are you most thankful came to an end? What was it about those events that bothered you so much? How did others recognize that you were bothered by those events? When have you witnessed a day of reckoning for a person? Do you have any celebrations that are anything like the tradition of Purim? Have a day!

In Conversation with a child today:   Ask a child to tell you what they do when they want to celebrate something

Prayers for our soldiers and others fighting for our country:

Remember in Prayer:    Frank & Jean, Carolyn & family, Dennis, Heidi, Barb, Sue, Michael Paul’s mother, Vivian

And those experiencing loss – family & friends of:  Edward, Doris, Angela

Prayer:   We love you, O God, and we thank you for this day. We thank you for having plans that are much bigger than anything we could ever plan or do. May we feel your protection surround us as we go into this day. Amen

Your E-Votional Servant

Lucia

© 2016 Lucia Oerter

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The Message Bible – contemporary translation

A ministry at Pines Presbyterian Church, 12751 Kimberley Lane, Houston, TX