image My favorite book of the Bible is Esther.  I love the drama.  I love the story.  At the risk of sounding trite, Esther is a fantastic script with a twisting and turning plot, rich characters, deceit, love, betrayal, an underdog overcoming great odds, and a beautiful story of grace and mercy.  It's a script that could only be written and directed by our mighty God, and produced in real life through his awesome power. I love this biography of a young orphan girl, raised by her cousin, suddenly thrust into the palace with the chance to be a queen.  She must hide her identity because her people are looked down on.  She finds favor with everyone, including the king, and is made queen.  In the mean time,  her uncle saves the king's life by uncovering a conspiracy to murder him.  Simultaneously, the King's main advisor is planning genocide for the queen's people but he doesn't even know the queen is one of them.  It's scandalous and the intensity is palpable! In the face of her death and the death of her entire race, Queen Esther is warned by her cousin that she has two options.  She can choose to stand by, try to protect herself, say nothing, and allow her faithful God to send another deliverer for the Jews.  Or, she can rise to the occasion, and risk her own life for the chance to save her people.  It's a nail biter! All this intensity leads up to one of my favorite verses in the whole Bible.  I'm a sucker for a good plot, and when reading about these events in Esther's life, I'm always on the edge of my seat. "...and who knows but that you have come to the royal position for such a time as this?"  Esther 4:14b Wow!  What a thought for Esther to ponder.  Her cousin Mordecai reminds her that God has been in charge of this scene from the opening act.  He loves His people and will deliver them with or without her. But, Esther has the choice.  Will she just watch as God raises up a deliver from another place, or will she bravely step up and accept her divine calling.  After all, it's quite possible that this one moment is the entire reason that God allowed her to become Queen.  Every detail, every event, has been leading up to this climactic choice. Isn't it amazing when you sit back and really think about it.  This is a true account from the Bible.  It's not a script or a work of fiction.  God actually called this beautiful, young orphan girl into a royal position and gave her the awesome opportunity to provide deliverance for her entire race from complete genocide. Now, maybe God isn't calling you to something quite that intense.  Maybe it's a smaller step of faith and obedience  in marriage, your career, or your ministry.  Who knows, maybe He is calling you to something monumental.  Regardless of the fork in the road that you are standing at, God does give us opportunities for Esther moments in our lives.  He brings us to a crossroads of sorts and allows us to choose which path to follow.  We can meekly sit back and allow God to find another person to fill the role that He has called us to. Or we can boldly step out in faith and obedience. We can choose to let our Esther moment become the defining scene of our story where we choose to follow God's call regardless of the risk.  We can choose to bravely accept His plan and His will for our lives. My prayer today is that we will each come to our Esther moments with purpose. We will gladly accept the challenge to follow where He leads.  We will step into our calling, whatever it may be, without hesitation because we trust that it has been His plan all along. Esther did. Imagine that moment I described earlier.  The ultimatum is given by Esther's cousin.  She is forced with a heavy decision.  She can let God use her or watch someone else fill her divine calling. Now picture yourself there instead.  The ultimatum is given to you.  You stand at your own personal fork in the road.  You know that God has called you for such a time as this.  Sister, boldly step into your role.  Take courage, because God has a plan for you just as He did for Esther. Embrace your Esther moment. Love and blessings, Bobbie
I often find such encouragement when I read my Bible.  Honestly, this is a new thing for me.  I use to look at Bible reading more as a chore.  It was just another thing to check off of my Christian to do list. Read a chapter or two from my Bible today.  Check.  Next? But a while back, I felt convicted to really get back into God's word in a more serious way.  I love to read.  You can almost always find me with a great Christian book.  I've got a crate of them beside my bed.  They are stacked in piles on my desks.  My easily distracted self prefers to have a few of them going at a time so that if I hit a dry spot in one, I can stick in a book mark, and pick up where I've left off in another.  I study these books.  They are a wealth of knowledge.  I love how writers have the ability to take lofty Christian principles and put them into terms that I can relate to and easily understand.  The authors feel like friends to me.  They just get me. The book pages are pen marked.  The pages are dog eared.  The covers show wear because of their constant handling.  I pack them to read on trips, tote them along in my purse, and keep them handy in case I have a few spare minutes to read. Can you see how much I love them?  On our trip to California last week I packed six.  I was feeling ambitious and Heaven forbid that I not have just the right one to fit my mood.  As a matter of fact, I spent the better part of two days alternating between the couch in a hotel bathrobe and my bathing suit on a lounge chair in the sun, all the while with a book.  It was heavenly! There are many books that I've read this year that I love!  Some of my most well loved books sit on a desk in my kitchen because I enjoy referencing them again.  I love to pick them up, turn to a page that's worn and underlined, and find a nugget of knowledge that relates to exactly what I'm feeling or thinking or dealing with. These books are so great!  God has divinely spoken through some amazing authors and I've been so blessed by their work.  Please don't misunderstand me in this.  I adore Christian authors and the way they put pen to paper to flesh out stories that truly speak to me! But, I had let these books replace my time in God's word. The Bible was a little hard for me to understand.  I just couldn't bring myself to mark up these holy pages.  I didn't know how to study it.  I didn't think I could relate to it.  The language and even sometimes the principles were lost on me, so I had set my Bible aside in search of easier reading. Until about eight or ten months ago.  I'm not really exactly sure of the date, but I remember the situation.  I was struggling with the passing of my dad.  It was brutally hard.  I remember realizing that I was seeking wisdom, comfort, advice, and guidance from Man instead of God.  And honestly, it wasn't working out too well for me. For some reason, it hit me like a brick, that  what I really needed to do, was get back to God's word. It was the best decision I've made in a really long time! I pray each day over my Bible.  I pray that God will speak to me through His word.  I pray for wisdom to understand His truth.  I pray for the Holy Spirit to open my eyes to see His character and open my heart to receive His teaching.  And I pray for people and stories that I can relate to. I can't honestly say that every time I open my Bible, I am awe struck by what I read.  (Some of those genealogies are a little long.). However, I can tell you that God's word has come alive to me in a way that I couldn't have imagined before.  Moses, Aaron, Joshua, and David have become like dear friends to me as I've studied the Old Testament.  Their stories resonate with me in such a real way.  We share some of the same struggles and I'm encouraged as I see God's faithfulness to grow them and use them.  I'm moved to tears by His unrelenting grace and mercy towards a people that continually fail him.  I see a parallel there and am awe struck that He shows the same grace and mercy towards me. This morning I littered the book of Ezra with underlines and notes.  Who would have thought that I could relate so much to this man of God?  Who would have known I could find so many answers to the questions that trouble me today in these pages penned so long ago?  Who would have known that these heroes of the Bible struggled with so many of the same things that I do? I just want to take a minute today and encourage you to go back to basics.  Don't give up all of the amazing books that God is using to reach you.  They have an awesome purpose and are instrumental in our growth.  But, turn back to that old black book too (well, mine is actually hot pink) and see what truths it holds for you.  Find comfort, wisdom, encouragement, and guidance in its pages.  Understand that God's word is alive and active and still so applicable to us today.  Ask the Holy Spiri to give you understanding and immerse youself in conversation with the Father.  Allow Him to speak to you through His word.  Find what you're looking for there. Love and blessings, Bobbie
Man, lately my life just seems to be hovering in the unknown.  Have you been there, in that phase of life when things just don't seem to make a lot of sense?  I seem to be there a lot lately.  It's not even a bad thing.  It's just different for me. I'm pretty good at just rolling with things.  Although I love order and a control, I'm not to shabby at just flying by the seat of my pants sometimes too.  This is different though. This is not flying by the seat of my pants.  There is still a bit of control in that.  Most of the time, I still get the choice of where, when, and how to fly and when not to. This is a little more out of my control than that.  This phase of life almost seems like a roller coaster ride.  There is a track and a destination and I'm barreling down it at full speed with lots of really high highs and some places where the bottom just drops out.  Sometimes I'm thrown for a loop.  There are some tunnels and some places where I get turned upside down a little, and sometimes I'm tempted to close my eyes when it gets a little scary. But, I'm also tempted to give in to the ride.  I want to just throw my hands in the air and scream and enjoy myself.  I want to give in to the complete freedom!  I don't know exactly how this roller coaster works, but I don't really need to.  I mean, I am pretty sure I saw the end destination when I jumped on board, but every twist and every turn and every thrilling moment in between is new to me.  So I just hang on tight.   I mean, the operator knows what's going on, so there is no need to worry.  I can just sit back and enjoy the ride, even if I'm a little scared and a little confused and a little nervous! Been there?  Understand at all? I know God has a plan and I can see where the destination might be, but I really don't understand the path that's leading me there.  There are a lot of unknowns along the way.  Sometimes I am at the peak and sometimes I'm down in that valley.  Sometimes I'm in that tunnel where things look a little dark and I can't see my hand in front of my face.  At other times I'm turned upside down or thrown for a loop, but the operator of this ride is in total control. After all, he isn't just the operator, He designed the ride just for me with every detail along the way.  Each high and each low was put in place for a purpose along the journey.  He mapped out each turn just for me! This roller coaster ride never surprises the operator.  He knows every twist and turn,  every peak and valley.  All of my unknowns and completely known by him.  I know he's in total control and I trust him. So, here's to giving up control to the one who knows all, operates all, and designed each detail and JUST hanging on for dear life and enjoying the ride! "Have you not heard?  Long ago I ordained it.  In the days of old I planned it; now I have brought it to pass." 2 Kings 19:25 Love and blessings, Bobbie
Sometimes my faith wavers a bit.  It's not something that I'm proud of, but I have the tendency to look at hard situations and say "why me?", "why now?", "what in the world is the purpose of this?".  My first response to something is usually emotional and full of questions. This morning as I sat and read my Bible, I was floored by the faith Rebekah showed in Genesis 25.  She was just going about her day, drawing water from the well like she always did, when God rocked her whole world.  Everything changed for her in a mater of minutes when she was told that the Lord had a plan for her. She didn't question even once?  I would have grilled that poor servant to no end!  I would have needed him to go though and tell me again, step by step.  I would have had lots of questions.  This guy is trying to change my whole world after all!  Am I just suppose to trust him and trust that God has a plan at work here?  That's a big leap of faith! Rebekah did though!  She RAN to tell her household and they all welcomed this traveling servant in.  Without a second thought.  Because they knew he came with a plan from the Lord. As that servant laid out the events that led him there and told Rebekah's family of God's plan, they surely had to be shocked.  Didn't they have any questions?  Who is this son of your master? God wants to do what now?  You want to take her where?  And you prayed what right before Rebekah showed up?  Are you sure?  Maybe we should take a few days to think this thorough? But no.  That's not how it went at all. "This is from the Lord; we have no choice in the matter...Let it be as the Lord has spoken." (Gen 24:50) "They called Rebekah and said to her, "Will you go with this man?"  She replied, "I will go." (Gen 24:57-58) And she did.  Just like that. Even though it had to be hard to just drop everything, leave everything she had ever known, and walk into a situation that was very unknown and possibly scary.  She unwaveringly believed that God had a good plan for her, and she stepped out of all she had ever known into his glorious plan without a moment's hesitation. WOW! I want to trust God's plan like that.  It's easy when His plan is easy, but when that plan has me walking into something unknown or scary, I sometimes drag my feet.  I question.  "Why?"  "How?"  "Are you sure you've got me God, because this looks hard?" Oh, to have a faith like Rebekah!  As I'm walking though things that I don't fully understand right now, I am choosing to turn away from my norm and respond like Rebekah.  It may be hard.  It may be unknown and even a little scary. But I'm choosing to answer with, "I will go."  That's it.  Just, "I will go."  And then I will.  Completely trusting that God has a plan for whatever it is I'm being called into and He will work it all for His ultimate good. Love and blessings, Bobbie
Do you ever feel like the more you learn, the more you realize that you don't know?  Man, I feel that way that a lot.  The more I study something or try to understand a situation that I thought I mostly understood, the more I see its complexities.  I realize I didn't know as much as I thought I did.  So, I keep trying to get a better understanding and as I study, some things become clear and some times I realize there is still so much I don't know. Can I be honest?  Sometimes I feel that way as I look at life and it's situations. I KNOW God.  I KNOW Jesus.  I KNOW what He did for me.  I KNOW His love.  I KNOW these things because I've experienced them.  I have felt His presence and I've experienced His hand on my life.  I believe and have faith because I KNOW, from personal experience, of His love, mercy, Grace, and forgiveness. But, the more I read my Bible and study the character of God, the more I understand how much of a mystery He is.  His ways are so far above mine that sometimes I just have to trust in complete faith.  That's a big part of faith, the act of just believing. I love studying the Old Testament because I love learning about God's character.  I've learned so much about His love, His mercy, His patience, His kindness and His long suffering.  I've learned how gracious He is to a people who just can't seem to get it right and continually fail Him.  I've learned that He is true to His word. I've also learned that He is so much more than I could grasp.  I've learned I can't comprehend all He does and all He allows.  I don't fully understand the plan. BUT He sees the beginning and the end and works accordingly.  He isn't limited at all by the tiny view of things that I am limited by. This morning in my Bible reading, I was just awe struck by a couple of verses.  1Kings 12:15 says "...for  this turn of events was from the Lord to fulfill His word..."  And 1Kings 12:24 says..."for this is my doing..." Wow!  What a powerful, mighty, sovereign God!  His hand can be seen in everything!  The good  and the seemingly bad. Both of these verses reference situations that weren't particularly pleasant at the time.  But, they show God working out His master plan to bring His people back to Him.  Because He loves them that much.  Because He is good and mighty and sovereign. I can only relate it to this;  just like sometimes as a parent, I have to allow my kiddos to experience both the good and the bad of life to be a loving parent, our Father allows us the same opportunity.  Because that is a part of His character too.  He is rightous and just.  He is sovereign.  He is omnipotent.  He is a good Father who looks at the long term when He is growing and shaping His children. So, even though I don't always understand the situation I'm walking though, I can trust in Him because I KNOW the one who is in control of it.  I KNOW His plan for me is good and that His purpose is for me to grow closer to Him. I don't have to understand or to have all the answers, because I trust the one who does.