Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Happy Purim 2018 13th of Adar, 5777

"And who knows but that you have come to
 royal position for such a time as this."
Esther 4:13

Queen Esther 
Lilian Broca

Tonight at sundown begins the Feast of Purim, or literally, "lots"
which recalls a time in Jewish history when the "lot" was cast to
determine the day of destruction for the Jews.

Fortunately, Elohim Chayim, the Living God, prevented this
wicked scheme from being carried out against His people.
The feast of Purim is God's appointed time to celebrate
the deliverance of His people from their enemies.

Purim is also the story of Esther, a beautiful Jewish girl chosen
to be the queen of Persia during the reign of  King Achashveros (Xerxes).
One of the king's advisers was a prideful, arrogant man named Haman,
who believed, as he became more powerful, that other servants of the king 
 should bow before him.   One of these servants was a pious gentleman named
Mordechai, a devout Jew, who refused to bow before any man.
He would only bow his knee before the Most High God.
In response to Mordechai's reluctance to pay him this homage,
angry Haman hatched an evil plan to exterminate all
the Jews within the Persian Empire.

"And the letters were sent by special messengers to all the king's
provinces-to destroy, to slay, and to do away with all the Jews,
both young and old, little children and women, in one day,
the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the month of Adar,
and to seize their belongings to spoil."
Esther 3:13

After Mordechai learned of Haman's wicked decree, he
realized that it was more than just a coincidence that
 his niece, the beautiful Esther, had
been chosen as queen of the Persian Empire,
at this dark and uncertain time for the Jewish people.

Mordechai went to see his niece to report on Haman's scheme.
He also warned her, 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 for the Jews will
arise from another place, but you and your father's family will perish.
And who knows but that you have come to royal position
for such a time as this."
Esther 4:13

Esther responded to her uncle's challenge, telling him
to go and call the Jews together to fast and pray, as she and her
servants would also fast and pray for three days, night and day.
Then, she said she would go in to see the king in his court,
even if it mean't that she would be breaking the law,
declaring bravely, "If I perish, I perish."

Queen Esther Seeking Permission To Speak
 Lilian Broca

When the king saw his Esther, whom he loved more than all
the other women presented to him while he was looking for a new queen,
he held out his golden scepter to her, allowing Esther to draw near
and touch the tip, allowing her to speak in the court.

Esther invited her husband and Haman to a dinner she would
prepare for them that evening.  The king granted her request and sent
for Haman, who was delighted that he might ingratiate himself
even further with the king and queen at the special dinner.

He was even more surprised and elated when the queen asked
that he and the king come to dine with her the next night.
However, he was still ticked off that Mordechai the Jew who
sat at the king's gate refused to bow before him.

Haman then told his wife and all his friends about Mordechai's
insolence to which they all urged him to have a gallows made,
and in the morning, after speaking to the king, have the stubborn Jew
hung on it while he and the king went to dine in the queen's palace.
Haman agreed and ordered the gallows made.

Meanwhile, that same night, the king could not sleep, and so he ordered
his servants to bring him the book of memorable deeds to be read before him.
When he learned that no honor had been given to Mordechai, who
had saved his life from an assassination plot by two of his attendants
who guarded his door, he called for Haman, who had just arrived in
the court to seek permission to hang Mordechai on the gallows.

However, he before could make his request, the king
 told his adviser to take the finest royal apparel
and one of the horses which he (the king) had ridden, as well as a 
 a royal crown and present all to Mordecai the Jew at the gate.
 The much incensed Haman,  begrudgingly followed the king's order,
 and promptly led the man he considered his enemy
 on horseback through the open city square of Shushan, proclaiming
before him, "This is the reward given to this man whom the king
delights to honor."

Afterwards, when Haman recounted to his wife and friends 
what had happened that morning, they all warned him, saying,
"If Mordechai, before whom you have begun to fall, is of the
offspring of the Jews, you cannot prevail against him,
but will surely fall before him."

Before they finished speaking, however, the king's attendants
came to escort Haman to the dinner Esther had prepared.
During the serving of the wine, the king asked his wife if she had a
special request, to which Esther answered, "If I have found favor in
your sight, O King, and if it pleases the king, let my life 
and the lives of my people be spared.  For we are sold, 
I and my people, to be destroyed, to be slain, and wiped
out of existence!"

Her angry husband responded, "Who is he,
and where is he who dares presume in his heart to do that?"
 Esther told him, "An adversary and an enemy of me
and my people sits at this very table, your adviser, Haman!"

The king rose up and in his shock and anger stalked out into the
palace garden while Haman began pleading and begging for his life 
 before the queen. When the king returned a few minutes later, he
saw that Haman had fallen upon the couch where his wife reclined,
and he said to him, "Will you even try to assault my wife in
my presence, in my own palace?

At that moment, Harbonah, one of the attendants serving the king,
appeared on the scene, declaring, "Behold, your Majesty, the gallows
Haman ordered to be built for Mordechai, whose warning saved
the king stands at the house of Haman!"
The king, glaring angrily at the wicked Haman cowering
before him, ordered, "Hang him on it!"

So, Haman was hung on the gallows he had intended for Mordechai.
However, even with Haman executed, according to the law of
the Medes and Persians, the previous decree calling for the
annihilation of the Jews in the empire could not be rescinded.

So, the king issued a new decree, declaring that while the 
Jews throughout his empire might come under attack, they
were permitted to defend themselves and their properties 
from their enemies.  Thus, the 13th day of  the month
of Adar, although considered a minor holiday by the
 world Jewish community, is a time of great rejoicing and
feasting, with a special meal called Seudah, shared
with family and friends, or at synagogues, where the
history of Purim is recalled through the reading of
Megillat Esther, or the scroll of Esther.

Esther Reveals Her True Identity
Lilian Broca

When Faith Is Put Into Action

When we put faith into action
How quickly we will see
The evidence of things unseen
And God's reality.
We can never walk on water
If we won't leave the boat.
If we're paralyzed by fear,
We may not even float.

When faith is put into action,
Our doubts and fears take wings,
And God gives us the confidence
To try and do all things.
It pleases Him to see us there
When others run away,
To prove that "In God We Trust"
Reflects our faith today.

When faith is put into action,
Results are guaranteed,
For we're never disappointed
When we follow His lead.
When we put faith into action,
How quickly we will see
The evidence of things unseen
And God's reality.

-Clay Harrison

Monday, February 26, 2018

The Original American Hero

"He was only a cowboy gone on before
He was only a cowboy, we will never see more,
He was doing his duty on the old NA range
But now he is sleeping on the old staked plains."
-"Only A Cowboy"

Hell For Leather
An oil painting by Steve Atkinson

Sometimes one would make a break,
Across the prairie he would take.
As if running for a stake,-
It seemed to to them but play,
Sometimes I could not head them at all,
Sometimes my horse would catch a fall
And I'd shoot on like a cannon ball
Till the earth came in my way."
-"The Horse Wrangler"

The White Stallion
A painting by George Phippen

"I left the State of Texas, for Arizona I was bound;
I landed in Tombstone City, I viewed the place all round.
Money and work were plentiful and the cowboys they were kind
But the only thought of my heart was the girl I left behind.
-"The Rambling Cowboy"

A painting by Andy Thomas

He may not win the laurel
Nor trumpet tongue of fame,
But beauty smiles upon him,
And ranchmen bless his name.

Then here's to the Texas Ranger,
Past, present and to come!
Our safety from the savage,
The guardian of our home."
-"Here's To The Ranger"

Texas Rangers

"Oh, give me a home where the buffalo roam,
Where the deer and the antelope play,
Where seldom is heard a discouraging word
And the skies are not cloudy all day."
-"Home On The Range"

Thoroughman's Home On The Range
A painting by Charles Marion Russell

"Home On The Range"
Lyrics written by Dr. Brewster M. Highly

The original authors of the rest of the above quoted
songs are unknown. These songs are considered
part of the folklore of the American West.

An excellent compilation of these and other cowboy songs
and western ballads can be found in the book,
"Cowboy Songs and Other Frontier Ballads"
which the author, John Avery Lomax,
dedicated to President Theodore Roosevelt

"Cowboy Songs and Other Frontier Ballads"
By John Avery Lomax
(c. 1910, 1916)
Sturgis and Walton Company

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Fourth Sunday Meditation: Honor And Majesty Are Found In His Presence

Coat Of Many Colors
 A painting by Thomas Blackshear

Sing to the Lord, all the earth;
show forth from day to day His salvation.

Declare His glory among the nations, His
marvelous works among all peoples.

For great is the Lord and greatly to be praised;
He also is to be reverently feared above all so-called gods.

For all the gods of the people are lifeless idols, but
the Lord made the heavens.

Honor and majesty are found in His presence; strength
and joy are found in His sanctuary.

Ascribe to the Lord, you families of the peoples,
ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.

Ascribe to the Lord in the glory due His name.
Bring an offering and come before Him;
worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness
and in holy array.

Tremble and reverently fear before Him,
all the earth's peoples; the world also shall be
established, so it cannot be moved.

Let the heavens be glad and let the earth rejoice;
and let men say among the nations,
The Lord reigns!

Let the sea roar, and all the things that fill it;
let the fields rejoice, and all that is in them.

Then the trees of the wood sing out for joy
before the Lord, for He comes to judge and govern the earth.

O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; for His mercy
and loving-kindness endure forever!

And say, Save us, O God of our salvation;
gather us together and deliver us from the nations,
that we may give thanks to Your holy name and
glory in Your praise.

Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, forever and ever!
And all the people said, "Amen!" and praised the Lord.

1 Chronicles 16:23-36

Lilies of the Field
Poppies in bloom near Beit Guvrin, Israel

Saturday, February 24, 2018

A Saturday Evening Folktale

Cause nobody but a logger
Stirs his coffee with his thumb...

The Frozen Logger

A tall tale of the tall tree toppers
from the Northwest logging country

I sat down one evening
Within a small cafe
A forty year old waitress
To me these words did say:
"I see you are a logger
And not just a common bum,
'Cause nobody but a logger
Stirs his coffee with his thumb."

My lover was a logger,
There's none like him today;
If you'd pour whiskey on it
He could eat a bale of hay.

He never shaved his whiskers
From off his horny hide;
He's just drive them in with a hammer
And bite them off inside.

My lover came to see me
Upon one freezing day;
He held me in a fond embrace
Which broke three vertebrae.

He kissed me when we parted,
So hard that he broke my jaw;
I could not speak to tell him
He'd forgot his mackinaw.

I saw my lover leaving,
Sauntering through the snow,
Going gaily homeward
At forty-eight below.

The weather it tried to freeze him,
It tried its level best;
At a hundred degrees below zero
He buttoned up his vest.

It froze clean through to China,
It froze to the stars above;
At a thousand degrees below zero
It froze my logger love.

And so I lost my lover,
And to this cafe I come,
And here I wait till someone
Stirs his coffee with his thumb.

Dashing through the snow at forty-eight below?
A Klondiker hauling logs with a dog sled team to Dawson
in the Yukon Territory

"The Frozen Logger"
The Weavers

"The Frozen Logger"
Words and Music by James Stevens
Copyright 1951 Folkways Music Publishers. Inc.
New York, N.Y.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Access To God

"Moreover let us also be full of joy now!
let us exult and triumph in our troubles and rejoice
in our sufferings, knowing that pressure and affliction
and hardship produce patient and unswerving endurance."
Romans 5:3

Becoming a Christian has enormous consequences.
Relationships are changed; we are given privileges;
we look at life differently; our resources are inexhaustible.
How do we receive all of this?
Paul makes it clear: through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Our relationships are changed: we have peace with God.

"Therefore , since we have been justified through faith,
we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ..."
Romans 5:1

When we are at odds with God, inner peace eludes us.
Becoming a Christian necessitates being made right with God,
and what a difference it makes!
Peace with God is enough to sing about.

We are given privileges: we have access by faith into God's
very presence:

..."through whom we have gained access into this grace
in which we now stand."
Romans 5:2

Once we knew only hostility, now we are invited into
the King's presence. Once we were outside; now we are 
welcome inside. Access. What are you doing with the privilege
of coming into God's presence?

We look at life differently: we can be joyful even when facing
the hard things that come into our lives. We know life isn't purposeless.
God is taking the stuff of our lives and making something good out of it.
We are on our way somewhere. God wants us to get us ready for heaven.
Our joy is real because we know we will one day share the glory of God.

Our resources are inexhaustible: God keeps pouring His love into our hearts.

"And hope does not disappoint us, because God has
poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit,
whom He has given us."
Romans 5:5

He not only makes us feel very loved, but He is so generous
in His supply that we have an overflow of love for other people.
He gives us the Holy Spirit, who not only transforms our thinking,
but makes God's love real to us.

Our trouble begins when we forget these great realities and
concentrate on our inadequacies, our fears, and all other manifestations
of our smallness. The proof of God's love is that Jesus Christ died for us.
We are no longer shivering outside in the cold with no credentials
to come before the King.

Jesus has invited us into His very presence and given us all we need
and more besides. This passage in Romans 5 is a renewed invitation to
take advantage of your privileges as a daughter of the King.

Prophetic Art by Pam Herrick

"Access To God"
A devotional by Gladys M. Hunt

On My Mind: The Refunding Of Planned Parenthood In The State Of New Jersey

The Refunding Of Planned Parenthood
In The State Of New Jersey

"And they built in high places for worship of Baal
in the Valley of Ben-hinnom (son of Hinnom) to cause
their sons and daughters to pass through the fire
in worship also of and to Molech-
which I did not command them, nor did it
come into My mind or heart that they should do this
abomination to cause Judah to sin."
Jeremiah 32:35

It has been reported that New Jersey's governor-elect,
Phil Murphy, a pro-abortion Democrat, grinned with pride as
he signed a new law forcing the taxpayers in our state
to support the nefarious organization known as
Planned Parenthood.

Governor Murphy's new law counteracts the law signed
by the previous New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a pro-life Republican,
 who consistently vetoed the funding of Planned Parenthood in our state.

According to Murphy signed legislation that will
give Planned Parenthood a whopping 7.5 million of taxpayer money
claiming he was "standing for the right values" by funding the abortion chain.
Present at this recent bill signing ceremony were leading pro-abortion
activists in New Jersey as well as Cecile Richards, the current CEO
of Planned Parenthood of America.

It apparently does not concern Phil Murphy much, that aside
from being the biggest abortion provider in the nation,
  several years ago, Planned Parenthood was caught
red-handed committing Medicaid fraud in the state
he now governs. 

He has instead chosen to replenish the coffers of
what is said to be one of his favorite constituencies,
which apparently played a crucial role in his winning
of the gubernatorial race this past November.

"You shall not commit murder"
Exodus 20:13

The Historical and Spiritual Connection between
the worship of Molech and the modern day Abortion Movement:

In the biblical accounts, Molech was a demon god of child
 sacrifice worshiped by the Canaanites, and by some within
the tribe of Judah.  The infants were brought before the god's
 altar and laid in his outstretched palms to be burned to death
at a place called Topheth, located in the southeast region of the 
Valley of  Ben-Hinnom.

Topheth, meaning "place of fire" was the main site of Molech worship.
The primitive root word, "toph" roughly translated, means,
 "the beating of drums" which scholars believe were used to drown out
the screaming of the infants as they were burned alive.

The Valley of Ben-Hinnom in Israel.
"Ben-Hinnom" in Hebrew, means, "Son of Hinnom"
Also called "Gehenna"

Fast forward to the 20th century and the year 1984, and the release
 of the heart-wrenching documentary, "The Silent Scream" an anti-abortion
educational film directed by Jack Duane Dabner and narrated by
the former director of NARAL  (National Abortion Rights
Action League) turned pro-life activist, Dr. Bernard Nathanson,
who once said, "Abortion is the most atrocious holocaust
in the history of the United States."

The film shows an abortion being performed via ultrasound,
where the unborn baby can be seen cringing in pain and
crying out (silently) during the procedure.

   It has also been well documented that a similar reaction takes place
during a saline-induced abortion, in which the baby is 
literally burned alive from the inside out before being
expelled from the mother's womb.

"The Silent Scream"

Pro-life organizations and citizens of New Jersey are naturally
lamenting the change of the guard in Trenton.  Not only is
Governor Murphy anti-life, he is also a strident anti-gun,
anti-Second Amendment activist, determine to impose
strict gun control legislation in order to deprive the law-abiding  
  citizens of this state their constitutional right to keep and bear arms. 

I find it disgusting that our hypocrite of a governor,
  is apparently all too willing to take away the constitutionally-guaranteed
 gun rights of  the law-abiding and responsible residents of the Garden State,
"in order to save more lives"  while willingly and generously funding the
  the flagrant evil that is Planned Parenthood with taxpayer money,
 thus allowing them to continue in the wholesale slaughter of thousands
  of unborn American children every single day across this nation.

Perhaps, like the slaveholders of centuries past, Governor Murphy
justifies his avid support of the abortion industry as a "necessary evil."
Those on the political Left are known to literally freak out at the comparison
between a slave and an unborn baby, even stooping so low
as to call it "racist".

The comparison is not "racist." 

This overly used accusation commonly employed by 21st century
progressives as a defense mechanism makes no sense.
  It is the glaring reality of truth in this situation that liberals in their
self-righteous hypocrisy cannot face, especially about themselves.

Both slaves and unborn babies were and are treated as non-humans,
with absolutely no rights or protection under the law.

The only difference between slavery and abortion is that at least a
slave often had the chance to run away from their captors and escape to freedom.

An unborn baby, whose mother is talked into having an abortion
by the deceived minds "standing for the right values" has no such chance.

With the passing of the great evangelist, the Reverend Billy Graham
this week, I am reminded of what he once said in response to
the subject of an unwanted pregnancy:

"I know it's common today to think of abortion as a simple answer
to an inconvenient problem-but it is actually a far more serious issue.
Your child isn't simply a mass of tissue; he or she is
a human being in God's eyes...
I urge you to turn to God-not just to put this problem into His hands,
but to give your whole life to Him. God loves you, and no matter what
you've done He wants to forgive your past and guide your future.
Make your commitment to Christ, and then ask Him to 
help you to do what is right."

 "Before I formed you in the womb
I knew you, before you were born I set you apart."
(Jeremiah 1:5)