...but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; They will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
ISAIAH 40:31

A Blog for Kids and Everyone.

This is a journey through God's word. The Bible is so amazing! There are a lot of great stories. Some that we know well and some will surprise us. We will have a lot of fun as we color, watch short cartoons and tell funny stories.

Friday, November 2, 2018

The Tables Are Turned on Haman (Esther 6 and 7)

  The king had just asked Haman what should be done for the man that the king wishes to honor. Haman, thinking that the king was talking about him, gave the king a very impressive list of things he could do. The king loved all Haman's ideas. Haman could not wait to tell his friends and family about this!
  King Xerxes said to Haman. "All these things will be done!" The king continued as Haman grinned from ear to ear, "Hurry and get the robe and my horse and do all the tings just as you have said for Mordecai the Jew who is sitting at the gate of the palace."
  Haman was speechless. "Mordecai the Jew?"He thought to himself. "I had gallows built to hang him and I was going to ask the king's permission, and now he wants to honor him?.... and I am the one that is going to carry it out?! This is terrible!" Haman grumbled to himself as he made it way out of the palace and to the palace gate to get Mordecai.

  Haman took the robe and put it on Mordecai, placed him on the king's own horse and led him through the city square. As Haman led Mordecai around the square, he shouted, "This is what  happens to those the king wishes to honor!" Haman did as the king asked, but on the inside, he was feeling humiliated, dejected, unappreciated and like a fool.
   When it was over, Mordecai returned to the city gate and Haman hurried home. When he got home, Haman told his wife, Zeresh, and all his friends what had happened. Haman went on for hours, telling everyone how humiliated he felt and that Mordecai the Jew did not deserve any of it. If anyone did, it was he himself. While Haman and his friends were still talking, one of the king's servants arrived to take Haman to Queen Esther's banquet. "I don't even feel like going now." He thought to himself.

  So the king and Haman went to the banquet that Queen Esther had prepared for them. After a while the king asked Esther, "So what is it you want my dear Queen Esther? Please tell me."
 
Esther answered him, Please my lord, if you are pleased with me, please spare me and my people. If we would only be taken as slaves, we could live with that, but a decree has been sent out to kill me and my people. I hate to bother the king, but it really is a matter of life and death."
  "Who would do such a thing?!" the king demanded. "Who would dare touch you?"
  Esther relied, "It is the evil Haman, my lord. He is our enemy." Haman grew pale with fright right before the king and queen. Then the king jumped to his feet in a rage and went into the palace garden to think. Haman and the queen stayed behind.
  Haman began to plead with Queen Esther, "Please my dear queen, this is all a big misunderstanding. We can work this out. Please tell the king to have mercy on me!" Esther didn't say a word, but Haman could tell that his his words were not reaching her heart. He fell on the couch where Esther was reclining, then he grabbed her arm. She pulled back and he was leaning into her. Just then the king returned and saw Haman nearly on top of the queen. "Will this evil man even assault the queen right here in the palace before my very eyes?" The king shouted in anger.
  The kings attendants moved in quickly and grabbed Haman. The servants knew that the king was wondering what should be done to Haman. Then Harbona, one of the servants spoke up. "Haman has set up a Gallows seventy-five feet tall in hi own courtyard. He was determined to use it to hang Mordecai the Jew, the same man who saved your life."
  "Then hang Haman on his own gallows!" the king ordered. So they did as king commanded.
  The story is not over however, the decree that Haman issued was sealed with the signet ring of the king. No one can over rule the law. Not even the king himself. So the date was still set for the annihilation of all the Jews. We will see what happened next time.


Friday, October 12, 2018

The Pride and Prejudice of Haman ( Esther 5 and 6)

   King Xerxes turned to Haman after queen Esther had invited them to another banquet and told Haman to be back again tomorrow. Haman left the palace on cloud nine. The king and queen have included him in their inner circle! He couldn't wait to get home and brag to his family and friends about how important he was. The only thing that interrupted his joy and excitement momentarily was Mordecai who was sitting along the wall of the palace in his sackcloth. He didn't stand or bow for Haman. This infuriated Haman.

  But by the time Haman made it home, he was bubbling over with pride and joy. He gathered his friends and family and told them all about how he was not only rich and that he had been promoted to be prime minister, but now the king and queen have invited him to, not one, but two dinner parties! He told them that the only thing that would make this day complete would be to get rid of Mordecai the Jew.
 One of Haman's friends spoke up. "Why don't you hire some carpenters to build and set up a gallows that stands seventy-five feet tall tonight, and in the morning, ask the king to hang Mordecai. Then you can enjoy your banquet without any aggravation."
  "I love that idea!" Haman exclaimed." With gallows that tall, everyone will be able to witness the hanging of Mordecai the Jew!" So Haman went right away and got his evil plan started.  The carpenters worked well into the night as Haman supervised the operation.
  Meanwhile, King Xerxes was tossing and turning all night. For some reason,(God), he just couldn't sleep. Finally, in the early morning hours, he asked a couple of servants to come and read the historical records of the kingdom. "If that doesn't bore me to sleep, nothing will." He thought to himself. So the servants began to read. The king was beginning to get a bit sleepy, when something from the records caught his attention. It was the account of how Mordecai exposed the plot of two palace guards to kill the king.
  "Yes, I remember that! Mordecai saved my life that day!' The king shouted as he sat up in bed. "Has anything ever been done to honor Mordecai?" He asked.
  "Nothing at all has been done for him. No reward or recognition has been given him" Answered one of the king's servants. Now the king was more awake than ever.

  Just then the king heard footsteps in the outer court and asked his servant to go see who was there. Now as it just so happened, Haman had arrived at the palace to ask the king to hang Mordecai that morning. "It is Haman." One of the servants replied.
"Oh good, send him in." The king ordered his servant. "I need some advice."
 So the servant escorted Haman into the presence of the king.
 "You are just the man I wanted to see." Said the king as Haman cracked a smile. "What should be done for a man that pleases me?" Now Haman's slight smile became a full-face grin. "Whom should the king want to honor more than me?" He thought to himself as ideas of how he would want to be honored by the king danced around in his head.
  "First of all," Haman stated, " He should bring out one of the kings royal robes as well as the king's  own horse with the royal emblem on it's head. Instruct one of the king's most noble men to place the robe on the honored person and then lead him through the city square." Haman was really dialing it up now. "Then have that noble man shout out as he leads the horse, 'This is what happens to the man the king wishes to honor!'"

 Sometimes our emotions (whether positive or negative) skew our perception of things. Haman's anger and pride blinded him to what was really going on. Ask God yo help you put you emotions aside and focus on the truth. He is the truth the way and the life. (John 14:6)
 Next time we will see how the tables were turned on Haman, and how God had everything in control all along.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Mordecai Implores Esther to Petition the King (Esther 4&5)

 
  When Mordecai found out about the new law, he was dismayed. He and all his fellow Jews were going to face annihilation at the hands of all the people in 11 months because of it. Mordecai put on sackcloth and ashes. (sackcloth and ashes were symbols of mourning and despair) He stood outside the gate of the palace wailing and crying bitterly. News of the king's decree swept through the kingdom and soon there was great mourning among the Jews. They fasted, wept and put on sackcloth and ashes.

   Some of queen Esther's maids saw Mordecai outside the city gates. They returned to Esther and told her how he was dressed and that he was weeping bitterly. Queen Esther sent some clothes with one of her servants for Mordecai to wear, because no one was allowed inside the palace walls in sackcloth, but he refused to wear them. So Esther ordered her servant, named Hathach, to go find out what what distressing Mordecai.
  Hathach went back and forth bringing messages to Queen Esther and Mordecai. Mordecai gave Hathach a copy of the decree that called for the death of all Jews to give to Esther. Esther didn't even know about the law and she was shocked and upset. Mordecai urged Esther to go to the king and beg for mercy for her people.
  "The whole world knows that anyone who approaches the king without being invited is doomed to certain death, unless the king holds out his gold scepter." Esther explained.
  Mordecai returned a message to the queen. "If you do not stand up for your people to the king, someone else will. But it could be certainly possible that you have been raised to royalty for such a time as this."

  Have you ever thought that maybe God put you in a certain uncomfortable situation for His purpose? Sometimes we try our hardest to get out of a situation, when God has worked it out to get us there! Don't ask God why.... ask Him what He wants you to do or to learn.

  Esther realized that Mordecai was right! "Go throughout the kingdom and ask all the Jews to fast and pray." She told him. "My maids and I will do the same. Then. even though it is against the law, I will approach the king. ...... and if I die..... I die."

  Three days later, Esther put on her royal gown and entered the inner court, which was just across from the king's hall. The king was sitting on his throne and looked in Esther's direction. She felt a lump in her throat and her legs felt weak as she wondered what fate awaited her.......Then..... the king held out his gold scepter to her. She let out a silent sigh of relief and glided toward the king.
  Then the king asked her, "What is your request my queen? Anything up to half my kingdom!"
  Esther responded, "If it please the king, let Your Majesty and Haman come to a special banquet I have prepared."
  The king turned to his attendants, "Tell Haman to come quickly. The queen has prepared a special banquet." So they went and brought back Haman for the banquet. They were all enjoying the banquet when the king turned to Esther and said, This banquet is nice, but please tell me what you really want. I will give you anything up to half my kingdom!"
  Esther replied. "This is my request and my deepest wish. If you are pleased with me and you want to grant my request, please come with Haman to another banquet that I will have prepared for you tomorrow. At that time I will explain everything."
  Esther wasn't afraid to ask the king. God was working behind the scenes and he put it in Esther's heart to delay her request another day. Next time we will see what God was up to.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Haman's Plot Against the Jews (Esther3)

  So, several years went by and Esther remained queen of Persia. She continued to keep her silence about her Jewish heritage. Her cousin, Mordecai, kept his position patrolling the palace grounds. Meanwhile, the king promoted a man named Haman to Prime Minister. The Prime Minister was the second most powerful position next to the king. Haman was an evil man. He was a descendant of Agag, who was the king of the Amalekites, the people who were Israel’s sworn enemy for generations (Exodus 17:14-16).



 Everyone was expected to bow down before Haman as he passed by, but Mordecai refused to bow. This made Haman very angry, and when he found out that Mordecai was a Jew, it made him even madder! Right then and there, Haman decided that it was time to get rid of not only Mordecai, but eliminate all the Jews.










  Haman approached King Xerxes, "It seems that there is a race of people scattered throughout your kingdom. They are disrespectful to the king and even their laws are different from ours. Sooner or later, they will cause big problems for you and the entire kingdom."


  "What do you suppose we do, Haman?" The king asked.
  "We must eliminate them completely!" Haman quickly replied with a slight evil smile across his face. "I have 375 tons of silver I'd like to donate to the royal treasury if this can be done."
  "Let it be done as you wish." The king replied. "But keep your money. Also here is my royal signet ring. You will need it to issue any decrees pertaining to the elimination of these people." 
  The king did not ask Haman for any details about the people that he was referring to. If he had, the king would have realized that he had many Jews as royal subjects and that the Jewish laws in no way interfered with the people obeying the laws of the kingdom. King Xerxes probably had no idea what he agreed to. He probably thought that he merely agreed to the execution of a handful of dangerous revolutionaries in his kingdom.

  Lots were cast to determine the best day of the year to execute all the Jews. It was determined that it would happen on March 7, almost a year later. Haman wasted no time in using the king's signet ring. So on April 17 the king’s secretaries were summoned, and a decree was written exactly as Haman dictated. It was sent to the king’s highest officers, the governors of all the provinces, and the leaders of each province in their own language. The decree was written in the name of King Xerxes and sealed with the king’s signet ring. Dispatches were sent by swift messengers into all the provinces of the empire, giving the order that all Jews—young and old, including women and children—must be annihilated on a single day. This was scheduled to happen on March 7 of the next year. The property of the Jews would be given to those who killed them. 


 The people of the kingdom were very confused. The Jews were their neighbors. Their children played together. Now they were supposed to kill them? It didn't seem right.


  God is always in control and every aspect of this time in history is no exception. He had a glorious plan. Right now it doesn't seem like it, but this is an amazing story. God allowed Haman to become prime minister. God already had Esther in place as queen and Mordecai in the king's circle. God allowed almost a whole year for the plan to be carried out through the casting of lots. (sort of rolling of the dice). 
  God had a plan then, and He has a plan today. He has a plan for your life and mine. He is in control of circumstances and He will give us opportunities to follow His will. Getting in on God's plan is not only being obedient, but it is also an exciting adventure! Pray for God to reveal complete knowledge of His will to you and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding. (Col 1:9)

Monday, August 20, 2018

Esther Becomes Queen (chapter 2)

 When we left off last time, the king's men were getting ready to comb the countryside for the most beautiful virgins for the Miss Persia competition.
  Now there was a man named Mordecai that lived very close to the palace. He had a cousin named Esther, who was very beautiful. Esther's parents died when she was young, and her cousin, Mordecai took on the responsibility of raising the young girl as his own daughter. As a result of the "Miss Persia" contest, Esther had no choice but to be brought to the king's harem with many other young women. Mordecai warned her not to tell anyone that she was a Jew.
   Esther was placed in the care of a man named Hegai. Hegai was one of the king's top advisers and he was very impressed with Esther from the start. He treated her kindly and immediately ordered beauty treatments and assigned her the seven best maids to care for her..He also moved her and the maids to the best chambers in the palace.


  Why was Hegai so impressed with Esther right off the bat? Yes, she was beautiful, but I'm sure there were many beautiful girls that were brought to the palace. Beauty is not only an outward thing, it is also what is on the inside. Mordecai raised Esther to be a God-serving humble girl and Hagai noticed that right away. What do others notice about us right away? Does the beauty of God's presence in our hearts shine, or do we hide behind a proud attitude?

  Esther had not told anyone of her Jewish heritage, just as Mordecai suggested. Every day he would visit the palace and ask about Esther and how she was doing. The beauty treatments were very intense, and the continued for one full year! Finally it was time for the "Miss Persia" contest to begin. The women were given their choice of clothing and jewelry, but Esther accepted the advice of Hegai and wore what he picked out. The women were presented to the king one by one,  and when Esther's turn finally came, she was admired by everyone. The king was so taken with her, that he placed the crown on her head right then and there! All the rest of the women were taken to the king's harem and were cared for there for the rest of their lives, never to marry. It was very sad for them, so it was really a big deal to be selected by the  king.
   So Esther became queen and Mordecai became a palace official. All the while they kept Esther's nationality and family background a secret. As a palace official, Mordecai would basically patrol the palace grounds, making sure everything was in order. One day while he was on duty, he overheard two of the guards that were outside the king's private quarters talking. They were very angry with King Xerxes and planned to have him killed. Mordecai quickly passed this information on to his cousin, Esther, the queen. She then told the king about it and gave Mordecai credit for unearthing the plot. The king launched a thorough investigation into the allegations, and it was found to be true. The two men were then hanged in the gallows.

  The book of Esther is very unusual in the fact that it never mentions God once! As we read the story, we can see God at work. He is using situations and circumstances to allow people to be in the right place at the right time. As the story continues, observe how much God is involved in the whole book. Aren't our lives like that. We don't see God, but He is there, touching hearts, touching lives and using circumstances to further His plan of redemption. It is God's will that everyone come to a saving knowledge of him. (1Timothy 2:4)

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

The Book of Esther (1-2) Vashti Banished

  Wasn't Nehemiah a great story? And it is all true....it really happened all those years ago. Now we are going to go back in time a little bit to  about 40 years before Nehemiah rebuilt the wall around Jerusalem. The Bible is not in chronological order. Which means it isn't in order of how things happened. The book of Ester is set in Persia after Nebuchadnezzar and Babylon were overthrown by the Persian Empire. The story of Esther is set about 30 years after the temple in Jerusalem was built and Ezra was the prophet of the time. At this time most of the Jews are still scattered throughout Persia.

   Now there was a king of Persia named Xerxes. Here ruled over all 127 provinces, from India down to Ethiopia. He had been king for 3 years when he decided to throw a huge party for all the princes and military officials. The party lasted 6 months! Then just when you think the party was over, the king throws a 7 day party for his palace servants and immediate officials. In the meantime, Queen Vashti was throwing her own party for the women of the kingdom.
  On the seventh day of the party, after the king had a little too much to drink, he started bragging about what a beautiful wife he had. Then he sent some of his servants to go bring the queen to him so he could show off her beauty in front of all the other men. When the message was conveyed to Queen Vashti that the king wanted her to parade around in front of a bunch of men who had been drinking for seven days, she refused. Disobeying the king was unheard of at the time. A queen would never refuse the request of the king!
  As soon as King Xerxes heard about Queen Vashti's response, he became infuriated and called his consultants together and asked their advice, because they were experts in Persian laws and customs.
 "What must be done with Queen Vashti?" The king asked. "What does the law say about a penalty for a queen who disobeys her king?"
  One of the king's consultants whose name was Memucan answered. "Queen Vashti has not only wronged the king, but she has also wronged all the princes and the male subjects in the kingdom." He continued. "The queen's behavior will become known to all the women in the kingdom, and before you know it, they will begin disrespecting their husbands which will lead to disorder and chaos in your kingdom."
  One of the other consultants spoke up. "If it please the king, let Queen Vashti be banished from the kingdom and never come before the king again! ... And let her position be given to another who is more worthy! Also send out a decree that all wives must honor their husbands because he is the master of the household."
  King Xerxes agreed and the queen was banished from the kingdom, never to be heard from again. Soon the king began to regret what he had done. If he had not acted so prideful, he would have not requested that the queen come before him and all the men then she would not have had to refuse. He was sad because he missed her.

 The Bible says that pride leads to destruction. (Prov 16:18) and patience is better than pride. (Eccles 7:8) God does not like pride. Pride hurts us and God doesn't want that. If we humble ourselves, God will lift us up. (James 4:10) The next time you feel like showing off or bragging about yourself... remember that it may make you feel like a big shot at the time, but eventually regret will set in, just like it did for King Xerxes.


  Some of his advisors saw that the king was down in the dumps over the whole situation and one spoke up. "May your servants travel to each of the 127 provinces of Persia and bring back to most beautiful virgins. We will hold a Miss Persia contest and whom ever you choose, will be the next queen of Persia!" The king liked the idea and the servants were dispatched to find the most beautiful virgins in all the land.

  Next time we will get an inside look at the Miss Persia contest.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Against All Opposition, The Wall Is Completed (Nehemiah 4-13)

As soon as I, Nehemiah, had assigned each person or family a section of the wall, they immediately began construction.  And as soon as Sanballat, Tobiah and Geshem saw that the people were beginning to build, they became furious. "We have already tried to discourage them." Geshem said.
"Yes, Nehemiah prayed and talked to the people and they were not discouraged." Tobiah added.
"We need to get others on our side." Sanballat said as he pounded his fist on the table.
  So the three men went to a section of the wall that we were building. I could see they were up to no good as they stood among a crowd of onlookers and began to make fun of us, hoping the others would join them. Tobiah pointed and shouted, "That wall is so weak that if a fox tried to walk along the top of it, the wall would crumble to the ground!" I prayed that my people would ignore the comments and that the crowd would not go along with Tobiah. And so we continued to build the wall.
 After a few weeks, the wall was about half complete. Saballat, Tobiah and Geshem were fuming! They sent messengers to the wall and handed me a letter. Here is what it said. "We have the Arabs, the Ammonites and the Ashdodites on our side. If you do not cease in your attempt to rebuild the wall around Jerusalem, we will attack." I prayed to the God of heaven that the threats were only just threats and that God would give me wisdom. So I stationed half the men as guards with shields and swords along the wall and armed the men that were working  on the wall with swords as well.




 The three evil men saw that we were not deterred. Progress on the wall continued and the they devised another plan. Again they sent messengers and handed me a letter. Here is what that letter said. "It has come to our attention that you are building the wall in order to rebel against your king in Persia and then name yourself as king over Jerusalem. If you do not stop construction of the wall immediately, we will inform the king of Persia of your plan and he will have you arrested and the people charged with treason." I sent a message back saying it was all lies and then I prayed for strength. Then we continued to build.
 We finally had the wall up, but still had not put up the gates and doors, which were important to secure the city. Sanballat, Tobiah and Geshem knew they had one last chance. They managed to bribe a man I knew named Shemaiah to try to trick me into meeting him inside the temple. I prayed, and God revealed to me that Shemaiah was working for Tobiah and Sanballat in order to discredit me. We continued to work on the wall. We hung the gates and doors. The wall was complete. And in only 52 days! The neighboring countries became fearful because they knew it was impossible to complete a project that would normally take a few years in only 52 days, and that God must be on our side. They were right!
  I called the prophet Ezra to read the law of God in front of the wall. Then the Levites reminded the people about how God was with us. Not only in the building of the wall, but throughout our history. From Abraham to Moses to the promised land until now, God has been with us the whole way. The people began to weep and confessed their sins. Then they made a vow to love God with their whole body, soul strength and mind, and to obey Him. Then we dedicated the wall to the God of heaven and rejoiced with songs, music, dancing, praying, worshiping and praising our God.
  I became governor of Jerusalem for 12 years the finally returned to king Antaxerxes. He was very happy to see me. I shared stories with him about how God has inspired, protected and been with us. I don't know if he realized that I would be gone for 12 years when I first left, but he received me back with open arms and he let me return to Jerusalem for a visit whenever I wanted. On one return visit, I found out that Eliashib the priest had emptied out one of the temple rooms and rented it to Tobiah for some of his personal belongings. As soon as I found out. I threw all of Tobiah's things out of the temple and replaced Eliashib with a Levite, a scribe and a priest, I knew all three men and trusted them. I also found out that some of the people and merchants were not honoring the Sabbath day. Before I returned to Persia, I prayed and then implemented some new rules.
  During the building of the wall, something that God inspired Nehemiah to do, there was so much opposition. There was an attempt to discourage the workers and they were made fun of, threatened, lied to and tricked. Notice what Nehemiah did each time. He prayed, then he planned and then he pushed forward. We should remember these three Ps when we are doing things for God and opposition arises (and it will). Pray, Plan, Push forward. God is on our side when we are called according to His purpose. He will guide you, protect you and give you wisdom.