Tag Archives: Faith
Avoid Strife and be a peacemaker
Esther 9 New Living Translation (NLT)
The Victory of the Jewish People
9 So on March 7[a] the two decrees of the king were put into effect. On that day, the enemies of the Jews had hoped to overpower them, but quite the opposite happened. It was the Jews who overpowered their enemies. 2 The Jews gathered in their cities throughout all the king’s provinces to attack anyone who tried to harm them. But no one could make a stand against them, for everyone was afraid of them. 3 And all the nobles of the provinces, the highest officers, the governors, and the royal officials helped the Jews for fear of Mordecai. 4 For Mordecai had been promoted in the king’s palace, and his fame spread throughout all the provinces as he became more and more powerful.
5 So the Jews went ahead on the appointed day and struck down their enemies with the sword. They killed and annihilated their enemies and did as they pleased with those who hated them. 6 In the fortress of Susa itself, the Jews killed 500 men. 7 They also killed Parshandatha, Dalphon, Aspatha, 8 Poratha, Adalia, Aridatha, 9 Parmashta, Arisai, Aridai, and Vaizatha— 10 the ten sons of Haman son of Hammedatha, the enemy of the Jews. But they did not take any plunder.
11 That very day, when the king was informed of the number of people killed in the fortress of Susa, 12 he called for Queen Esther. He said, “The Jews have killed 500 men in the fortress of Susa alone, as well as Haman’s ten sons. If they have done that here, what has happened in the rest of the provinces? But now, what more do you want? It will be granted to you; tell me and I will do it.”
13 Esther responded, “If it please the king, give the Jews in Susa permission to do again tomorrow as they have done today, and let the bodies of Haman’s ten sons be impaled on a pole.”
14 So the king agreed, and the decree was announced in Susa. And they impaled the bodies of Haman’s ten sons. 15 Then the Jews at Susa gathered together on March 8[b] and killed 300 more men, and again they took no plunder.
16 Meanwhile, the other Jews throughout the king’s provinces had gathered together to defend their lives. They gained relief from all their enemies, killing 75,000 of those who hated them. But they did not take any plunder. 17 This was done throughout the provinces on March 7, and on March 8 they rested,[c] celebrating their victory with a day of feasting and gladness. 18 (The Jews at Susa killed their enemies on March 7 and again on March 8, then rested on March 9,[d] making that their day of feasting and gladness.) 19 So to this day, rural Jews living in remote villages celebrate an annual festival and holiday on the appointed day in late winter,[e] when they rejoice and send gifts of food to each other.
The Festival of Purim
20 Mordecai recorded these events and sent letters to the Jews near and far, throughout all the provinces of King Xerxes, 21 calling on them to celebrate an annual festival on these two days.[f] 22 He told them to celebrate these days with feasting and gladness and by giving gifts of food to each other and presents to the poor. This would commemorate a time when the Jews gained relief from their enemies, when their sorrow was turned into gladness and their mourning into joy.
23 So the Jews accepted Mordecai’s proposal and adopted this annual custom. 24 Haman son of Hammedatha the Agagite, the enemy of the Jews, had plotted to crush and destroy them on the date determined by casting lots (the lots were called purim). 25 But when Esther came before the king, he issued a decree causing Haman’s evil plot to backfire, and Haman and his sons were impaled on a sharpened pole. 26 That is why this celebration is called Purim, because it is the ancient word for casting lots.
So because of Mordecai’s letter and because of what they had experienced, 27 the Jews throughout the realm agreed to inaugurate this tradition and to pass it on to their descendants and to all who became Jews. They declared they would never fail to celebrate these two prescribed days at the appointed time each year. 28 These days would be remembered and kept from generation to generation and celebrated by every family throughout the provinces and cities of the empire. This Festival of Purim would never cease to be celebrated among the Jews, nor would the memory of what happened ever die out among their descendants.
29 Then Queen Esther, the daughter of Abihail, along with Mordecai the Jew, wrote another letter putting the queen’s full authority behind Mordecai’s letter to establish the Festival of Purim. 30 Letters wishing peace and security were sent to the Jews throughout the 127 provinces of the empire of Xerxes. 31 These letters established the Festival of Purim—an annual celebration of these days at the appointed time, decreed by both Mordecai the Jew and Queen Esther. (The people decided to observe this festival, just as they had decided for themselves and their descendants to establish the times of fasting and mourning.) 32 So the command of Esther confirmed the practices of Purim, and it was all written down in the records.
I am reading this from this link of a ministry called Never Thirsty
A Matter’s End
(#362 from Suffer Well Devotional Series©)
“The end of a matter is better than its beginning. The patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.” (Ecclesiastes 7:8)
Is it because “it was finally over” that Solomon writes such things. What was he expressing within the exhale of such words as they vibrated over his vocal cords? Would you consider the character of Yahweh in every process loved one? Would you credit the pleasure and the pain, the victories and the defeats, all as the working of His hands?
The process should never culminate with a concession; “I just need to get through this.” A healthier introspection would yield a different inference, “Yahweh has orchestrated this to remove some idol in my life, to decimate a stronghold in my ego.” Pain in the thought world always equals the death of improper attachments to something in the physical realm. And so the conclusion of the matter is the removing of deadly adhesions to unholy things; it is the intent of the supernatural process. And because the intent is supernatural, its conclusion will have supernatural results: “The end of a matter is surely better than its beginning! And patience is always better than pride.”
Yahweh is very patient in removing the pride within you that actually keeps you from Him. Imagine a great love that never fails, His only way of loving, and then imagine how that love longs to envelope your entire being. But by being true love, it has no option but to wait (1 Corinthians 13:4)! This unsearchable perfect love, which longs to envelope you, waits patiently while all that rejects it is removed from within you. All fear must be cast out in order to dwell in perfect love (1 John 4:18). All pride gives way to meekness; and all boasting becomes wrapped in humility (1 Corinthians 13:4). Listen closely to the conclusion of the matter. Because you have been given revelation of this pattern, understanding and wisdom about this process, you can then participate in the supernatural; you can praise Him and give thanks even during the process (Psalm 100:4).
“Be pleased when things go well, but when things seem bad, consider this: Yahweh has made the one as well as the other, so man shall never know what lies ahead of him.” (Ecclesiastes 7:14) And even though you do not know what lies ahead, you do not need to wait for the end of a matter to praise Him; the end is ALWAYS better than the beginning!
Personal Note: As always, I never read the devotions until I open them to edit. But what has transpired in my life over the last few weeks is this EXACT process. I have actually thought this very thing, “I just need to get through this.” I have counted the days until that day that I would not be “REQUIRED” to sit at my computer for hours to write and edit. “I just need a few days off,” I would reason. My arm, hand and wrist have been in agony. I’ve had to change my position and change from mouse to the internal track pad and then to an external pad and back again. It has gotten to the point that on any given day I have to go back and forth between the three just to get through the day, just to manage the searing pain in my wrist. “Just a few more weeks, just a few more days,” I would concede.
But then Yahweh spoke to me. He showed me that this was my “self”, the remnants of my ego (pride) that was scratching and clawing to hang on to the last vestige of hope that it would NOT HAVE TO DIE. I felt as if I could not think straight anymore. After hundreds of days in a row, my mind was blank, numb and in pain. I was confused, angry, depressed and unmotivated. After hundreds of days in which I was 100% confident in His supernatural direction for each devotion, every word edited, and all the scriptures I was inspired to add, I was all of a sudden blank! Nonetheless, each morning when I would wake to read today’s devotion, what came from what seemed to be a blank, numb and unmotivated mind yesterday, was completely heavenly and inspired. What He was showing me was, “None of you, Jeff. All of Me! It has always been Me.” And then on the 361st day of the year, just four days till the end, as I sat to edit this devotion, number 362, I opened to read “A Matter’s End”! All I could say was, “O, Yahweh You are faithful and true. You must increase, but I must decrease.” (John 3:30) And the end of a matter is surely better than its beginning.
Sufficient For Today
(#361 from Suffer Well Devotional Series©)
“Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow for tomorrow has its own worries. Each day has enough of its own trouble.” (Matthew 6:34)
Listen closely loved one. Yahweh says exactly what He means and He means exactly what He says. And He knows that to raise children; it takes repeating His words (Deuteronomy 4:9-10; 6:7; 11:19) and sometimes a rod as well (Proverbs 13:24). If He says that you should not be worried about tomorrow, then any concern for the future will be absent His anointing. Meditate over and over on these words: Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to the Mighty One. And the peace of the Mighty One, which transcends all understanding, will guard the thoughts, feelings and purpose of your hearts [minds] in the Messiah Yahshua.(Philippians 4:6) If you are instructed to not be anxious or worried about anything, then losing your peace or having anxiety over your desires, hopes, or concerns for the future is foolishness. He is your everything today and your everything tomorrow.
Trust in Yahweh, and do good; dwell in the land [what is firm], and feed on His faithfulness. Delight yourself in Yahweh, and He shall give [grant, set, appoint, assign] you the desires of your heart [satisfy your thoughts, feelings, and purpose]. (Psalm 37:3-4) Do you get how powerful this is? You have no need for anxiety about your future because Yahweh both assigns the desires of your heart and then He grants them. If you are living in obedience, you can be confident that the very desires you have in your heart were place there by the Mighty One and will also be fulfilled by Him. The king shall have joy in Your strength, O Yahweh; and in Your salvation how greatly shall he rejoice! You have given him his heart’s desire, and have not withheld the request of his lips. (Psalm 21:1-2)
You should have no anxiety about tomorrow, but this does not mean that you should not cultivate a vision for what Yahweh has for you, the purpose for why you were created. Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keeps the Law, happy is he. (Proverbs 29:18) There is a call on your life, and obedience to that call brings happiness. Besides, the gifts of Yahweh are irrevocable (Romans 11:29). The desires that He placed in your heart are the very clues which identify your calling, define your purpose, and cultivate Yahweh’s vision for you. “I know the plans I have for you,” declares Yahweh, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11) And the key to assuring that your desires are His desires is to be a man after the heart of Yahweh (Acts 13:22). It is the key of David; “I will place on his shoulder the key to the house of David; what he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open.” (Isaiah 22:22, Revelation 3:7) When you are after the heart of Yahweh, you have in your hand the keys to the Kingdom.
Those keys unlock Yahweh’s vision for your life and help define your purpose. However, one thing above all will insure that you have no worries about tomorrow. It is to be satisfied with your cup being filled by the Almighty alone. If your happiness, peace, and contentment require a new job, or perhaps a better marriage, then your hope is in idols, something other than Him. It says that your emotional stability is subject to your physical or emotional satisfaction from people or things. To the contrary, when you are complete in Him, everything else is provided automatically (Matthew 6:33)! The mind (heart) longs for nothing else, needs nothing else, and is utterly and overwhelmingly satisfied with Yahweh alone!
If today, you cry out for Him to be your everything, to love Him and His will alone, then you will find that you have more than you could ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20). It will be too glorious to even think about tomorrow.
The Best Within
(#356 from Suffer Well Devotional Series©)
It’s a Spiritual Kingdom not a physical kingdom.
Repent, the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. (Matthew 4:17)
I must preach the Kingdom of the Mighty One, because for this purpose I have been sent. (Luke 4:43)
The Kingdom does not come with observation… For indeed the Kingdom of the Mighty One is within you. (Luke 17:20-21)
My Kingdom is not of this world… My Kingdom is not from here. (John 18:36)
And so it is fitting that we consider that the scriptures speak of this Spiritual Kingdom and Spiritual matters first, the physical merely being an effect or manifestation of the Spiritual reality. With this in focus, let’s take a look at some ideas with our Kingdom glasses on:
Goliath the Gittite vs. David
1. Goliath (from the root galah): A Philistine giant; (to exile; go into captivity)
2. Gittite (a man belonging to the city of Gath): of a wine-press; (treading out; pressing)
3. David (from the root dode): loving; loved one; (to boil)
The Hebraic meaning or root of each word gives us insight into the Spiritual Kingdom; the eternal Kingdom of Light. Goliath is the darkness within you that has been banished due to the renewed spiritual influence of Yahshua the Messiah. Although old ways of thinking continue to press on your mind, desiring to return and destroy that which has been renewed, love that has reached its fullest potential (boiling over) will put to death (behead) the ever-pressing ego (self).
And so when your “self” entertains thoughts such as, “Am I a dog, that you come against me with sticks” (1 Samuel 17:43), you must quickly recognize that this is only your ego attempting to defy the Light which shines within you through faith in Yahshua the Messiah. Of course the old you is a dog! It is a dog ever ready and willing to return to its vomit (2 Peter 2:22). This can be avoided as the David (love) within you overcomes the darkness. It’s all within; life is all in the mind loved one, and the mind is Yahweh’s Sanctuary, if you are willing to receive it.
After this I will return and will rebuild the tabernacle of David, which has fallen down; I will rebuild its ruins, and I will set it up. (Acts 15:16 from Amos 9:11)
Not One Step More
(#350 from Suffer Well Devotional Series©)
From that time Yahshua began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day. (Matthew 16:21) As it was with Yahshua the Messiah, so it is with you. The Father has determined the number of a man’s days; He has decreed the number of his months and has set limits to his life that he cannot exceed (Job 14:5).
Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. (Matthew 10:29-30)
Yahweh has dominion over every life. This is an unchangeable pattern. It is not just that He has determined your beginning and your end, but He has orchestrated all the in-betweens. It takes serious spiritual meditation to even consider, let alone grasp, the reality that every single aspect of your life was pre-approved before you were physically created. You might readily declare your great appreciation for the Father’s sovereignty in Yahshua’s life, “that He must go to Jerusalem to suffer…” Or, even your appreciation that not even a “tiny bird could fall to the ground apart from the Father’s will.” But, is there still a disconnect, a glazed over denial that the same is true when it comes to Yahweh’s sovereignty in your own life? He created you for a distinct purpose and when that purpose is complete, you will be “finished.” Yahshua knew of such intimacy.
Can you imagine a life so intimately connected to the Father, that when His purpose in your life is fulfilled, you would declare, “It is finished [fulfilled, completed]!” (John 19:30) Yes, Yahshua knew of such intimacy. This intimacy was born from His continual meditation; “Not My will! Not My will! Not My will.” This guaranteed that only His Father’s will (Yahweh’s thoughts and ideas) would have status within His mind, and on these alone would He act. “I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner.” (John 5:19) “For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak.” (John 12:49)
And finally, there is a powerful tool that Yahshua depended on often. He would withdraw to desolate [solitary] places to pray (Luke 5:16). And what He would do there is wait; He never acted on His own. He would wait until He heard the Father’s voice; and He would walk as the Father spoke, and if the Father was silent He would not take one step more. The Son can do nothing of Himself. Can you?
Our soul waits for Yahweh;
He is our help and our shield.
For our heart [center of intellect] shall rejoice in Him,
Because we have trusted in His holy Name.
Let Your mercy, O Yahweh, be upon us,
Just as we hope in You.
(#343 from Suffer Well Devotional Series©)
The Kingdom of Heaven has been forcefully advancing, and violent men take it by force [as a precious prize—a share in the heavenly Kingdom is sought with most ardent zeal and intense exertion within]. (Matthew 11:12)
We must continually climb higher. Yesterday’s thoughts should always stand under the scrutiny of today’s new heights of revealed wisdom and understanding. Yes loved one, every day should be a day of advancement, stretching vision and intertwining new realities. There is a magnificent supernatural web that connects everything, and acknowledging it brings glory to the Father.
What does it mean to know Yahweh? May we suggest that a strong indicator is that you have an understanding and appreciation for how He operates His Heavenly Court? May we also suggest that the opposite true? A lack of understanding and appreciation for His Heavenly Court limits your knowledge of the Most High.
And so as we advance, the new standards become the next highest branch on the Tree of Life. With each new revelation, yesterday’s mishaps are no longer excusable, yesterday’s ignorance is no longer tolerable, and yesterday’s increase is no longer the utmost. We climb each successive branch toward the top of the Tree of Life to the throne room of the King (the highest branch, “Keter” which means the “crown” or “I Am” branch), where His Son sits at His right hand and the Holy Spirit at His left in His Heavenly Courtroom.
And of the longest branch heading towards Keter, we find that which represents the body (totality of thoughts) that Yahweh decrees for His chosen children, and goes by the name “Tifereth.” It means “beauty; glory; or glorious.” It inspires thoughts that will cause you to proclaim the very essence of its meaning; “That is so beautiful.” Yahweh’s truth is beautiful. It is the expression of the wisdom, vision, and the new reality that you are now capable of perceiving.
In that beauty you are taken to an even higher place and deeper revelation. New doors open and you receive more clarity from the voice within, from the mind of the Messiah. “Take the next step,” it whispers. “There is another branch waiting.” Then everything changes loved one, everything changes.
(#314 from Suffer Well Devotional Series©)
It ultimately brings the purest of joy when you release it completely. Release what? Everything that supports your belief that there is any good in you whatsoever. And on this narrow road, where you come face-to-face with the truth, you will encounter a sobering paradigm. “If you were left to your own devices, you would be doomed.” The fullest appreciation of what salvation offers (the ongoing process of your mind being saved) is directly related to your acknowledgement of what you are saved from. “I will boast about a man like that, but I will not boast about myself, except about my weaknesses.” (2 Corinthians 12:5) Boast in Him because weakness is the finest you can boast of.
The best you can come to the table with is this; “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, Yahweh Almighty.” (Isayah 6:5) And if you are humble you will remember how deeply wicked every aspect of your conscience would be without Yahweh’s Spirit. Any climb from the pit you were in is only because of His grace. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of Yahweh. (Ephesians 2:8)
How many of you have been purchased from the grave by His grace only to start believing the preposterous idea that somehow you became “good” because of it. Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh? Have you experienced so much in vain—if it really was in vain? (Galatians 3:3-4) Have you become judgmental, haughty, self-righteous, self-assured, rather than mournful, desperate, humble, and sober? Come near to the Almighty and He will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. (James 4:8) Perhaps you would be so bold as to ask Yahweh; “How wicked am I apart from You?”
When you have a revelation of the enormity of the wickedness of your personal “self” desire, you too will be terrified of the alternative of being left to your own devices. The mind of one who knows this is ever mournful, desperate, humble, and sober. And once we bear His mark, we confess that the reverent fear of our destiny without Him will keep our eyes fixed on Yahshua, the author and perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:2).
“I know that whatever Yahweh does, it will be forever; nothing can be added to it nor anything taken from it. Yahweh acts, and men will revere Him. That which was, now is; and that which is to be has already been, and Yahweh requires an accounting of the past.” (Ecclesiastes 3:14-15)
One Author and Finisher
(#311 from Suffer Well Devotional Series©)
“Looking unto Yahshua, the author and finisher of our faith…” (Hebrews 12:2)
Every word matters loved one. Be slow to speak and quick to listen (James 1:19). Would He waste His own words who has proclaimed, “When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable, but he who restrains his lips is wise?” (Proverbs 10:19) And so as directed by His wise words, we are commanded to “look” to Yahshua as “author” and “finisher.”
What does this looking unto Yahshua mean? It means to: fix our eyes; look only; focus on; look steadfastly; to fix one’s gaze upon; to look away from all else. This is a spiritual matter. The intensity of the “looking” is not just about what you look upon, but what you look away from. It is not seeking what is physical. It is tangible, yes, but not what you can touch with your hands. Soul searching might be a more accurate explanation, a deep search within for what is and what isn’t. How can you tell if you are looking unto Yahshua? It’s obvious; take what your mind is producing in the natural and measure it against the life of He who said, “I am the way!” (John 14:6)
The author of your faith; it means: originator, source, founder, prince, and leader; the person who is the originator or founder of a movement and continues as the leader. As we look unto Him, we are commanded to see (spiritually perceive) Him as author. What does this mean to you? Would it be fair to conclude that if you don’t know what it means, or you have failed to seek out its meaning, that He has not been your top priority? Listen closely loved one; those who are His have their names recorded in the Book of Life (Revelation 3:5). If your name is written, it is because you have professed your desire for Him to direct your life (mind activity). His sheep listen to His voice; He knows them, and they follow Him (John 10:27). This is what He is saying; “Look at My life; I’m the way to do it all. I stand ready to take over, but I won’t force Myself on you. And be very careful dear loved one, our Father is long suffering, but He is not timid.” Embrace that your old man has died and that His life in you has replaced him (Galatians 2:20). His life is now writing the book on yours. In other words, He is the author of your life!
The finisher of your faith; it means: perfecter, completer; the consummator who brings a process to its end. His perfection guarantees yours loved one. This crucial function has most to do with personal obedience. You are perfected because there was a death. Yes, His death paved the way. The question remains; must you die also to be perfected? An emphatic “Yes!” but then the critical distinction; die how? Our old self was impaled with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin. (Romans 6:6-7) Yes, to attain the promise of perfection the death of your old nature is a requirement; the death of your body—optional.
He was the last sacrifice (Hebrews 7:27; 9:12, 26; 10:10) necessary for you to achieve the promise. He made a way for you to be perfected before physical death, yet so many will deny such is possible. These are the timid ones, never quite dedicated enough to lose their life for Him (Matthew 16:25). Each man’s work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames. (1 Corinthians 3:13-15)
Who do you identify with, the timid who will only escape through the flames, or the one who is willing to lose his life? What do you say when asked of perfection? “It is not possible, not until we are dead (physically); He was the only one who could be perfect?” The finisher of your faith would tell you otherwise; He would say, “I finished it for you. (John 19:30) It is My life in you now!” (Galatians 2:20) So, if He is saying “yes,” why are you saying “no?” If a house [totality of thoughts] is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. (Mark 3:25) Come to grips with this most important of realties. “It is finished;” now do your part because of it!