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Open Your Eyes and See The Real Battle
Ezra 5 New Living Translation (NLT)
5 At that time the prophets Haggai and Zechariah son of Iddo prophesied to the Jews in Judah and Jerusalem. They prophesied in the name of the God of Israel who was over them. 2 Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel and Jeshua son of Jehozadak[a] responded by starting again to rebuild the Temple of God in Jerusalem. And the prophets of God were with them and helped them.
3 But Tattenai, governor of the province west of the Euphrates River,[b] and Shethar-bozenai and their colleagues soon arrived in Jerusalem and asked, “Who gave you permission to rebuild this Temple and restore this structure?” 4 They also asked for[c] the names of all the men working on the Temple. 5 But because their God was watching over them, the leaders of the Jews were not prevented from building until a report was sent to Darius and he returned his decision.
Tattenai’s Letter to King Darius
6 This is a copy of the letter that Tattenai the governor, Shethar-bozenai, and the other officials of the province west of the Euphrates River sent to King Darius:
7 “To King Darius. Greetings.
8 “The king should know that we went to the construction site of the Temple of the great God in the province of Judah. It is being rebuilt with specially prepared stones, and timber is being laid in its walls. The work is going forward with great energy and success.
9 “We asked the leaders, ‘Who gave you permission to rebuild this Temple and restore this structure?’ 10 And we demanded their names so that we could tell you who the leaders were.
11 “This was their answer: ‘We are the servants of the God of heaven and earth, and we are rebuilding the Temple that was built here many years ago by a great king of Israel. 12 But because our ancestors angered the God of heaven, he abandoned them to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon,[d] who destroyed this Temple and exiled the people to Babylonia. 13 However, King Cyrus of Babylon,[e] during the first year of his reign, issued a decree that the Temple of God should be rebuilt. 14 King Cyrus returned the gold and silver cups that Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the Temple of God in Jerusalem and had placed in the temple of Babylon. These cups were taken from that temple and presented to a man named Sheshbazzar, whom King Cyrus appointed as governor of Judah. 15 The king instructed him to return the cups to their place in Jerusalem and to rebuild the Temple of God there on its original site. 16 So this Sheshbazzar came and laid the foundations of the Temple of God in Jerusalem. The people have been working on it ever since, though it is not yet completed.’
17 “Therefore, if it pleases the king, we request that a search be made in the royal archives of Babylon to discover whether King Cyrus ever issued a decree to rebuild God’s Temple in Jerusalem. And then let the king send us his decision in this matter.”
- 5:2 Aramaic Jozadak, a variant spelling of Jehozadak.
- 5:3 Aramaic the province beyond the river; also in 5:6.
- 5:4 As in one Hebrew manuscript and Greek and Syriac versions; Masoretic Text reads Then we told them.
- 5:12 Aramaic Nebuchadnezzar the Chaldean.
- 5:13 King Cyrus of Persia is here identified as the king of Babylon because Persia had conquered the Babylonian Empire.
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
Esther 5 New Living Translation (NLT)
Esther’s Request to the King
1 On the third day of the fast, Esther put on her royal robes and entered the inner court of the palace, just across from the king’s hall. The king was sitting on his royal throne, facing the entrance. 2 When he saw Queen Esther standing there in the inner court, he welcomed her and held out the gold scepter to her. So Esther approached and touched the end of the scepter.
3 Then the king asked her, “What do you want, Queen Esther? What is your request? I will give it to you, even if it is half the kingdom!”
4 And Esther replied, “If it please the king, let the king and Haman come today to a banquet I have prepared for the king.”
5 The king turned to his attendants and said, “Tell Haman to come quickly to a banquet, as Esther has requested.” So the king and Haman went to Esther’s banquet.
6 And while they were drinking wine, the king said to Esther, “Now tell me what you really want. What is your request? I will give it to you, even if it is half the kingdom!”
7 Esther replied, “This is my request and deepest wish. 8 If I have found favor with the king, and if it pleases the king to grant my request and do what I ask, please come with Haman tomorrow to the banquet I will prepare for you. Then I will explain what this is all about.”
Haman’s Plan to Kill Mordecai
9 Haman was a happy man as he left the banquet! But when he saw Mordecai sitting at the palace gate, not standing up or trembling nervously before him, Haman became furious. 10 However, he restrained himself and went on home.
Then Haman gathered together his friends and Zeresh, his wife, 11 and boasted to them about his great wealth and his many children. He bragged about the honors the king had given him and how he had been promoted over all the other nobles and officials.
12 Then Haman added, “And that’s not all! Queen Esther invited only me and the king himself to the banquet she prepared for us. And she has invited me to dine with her and the king again tomorrow!” 13 Then he added, “But this is all worth nothing as long as I see Mordecai the Jew just sitting there at the palace gate.”
14 So Haman’s wife, Zeresh, and all his friends suggested, “Set up a sharpened pole that stands seventy-five feet[a] tall, and in the morning ask the king to impale Mordecai on it. When this is done, you can go on your merry way to the banquet with the king.” This pleased Haman, and he ordered the pole set up.
- 5:14 Hebrew 50 cubits [23 meters].
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)
These “Minor” Things
(#344 from Suffer Well Devotional Series©)
Let no corrupt communication [foul or polluting language, nor evil word nor unwholesome or worthless talk] [ever] proceed out of your mouth, but only such [speech] as is good and beneficial to the spiritual progress [edification] of others, as is fitting to the need and the occasion, that it may be a blessing and give grace [Yahweh’s favor] to those who hear it. (Ephesians 4:29)
Corrupt, as in corrupt communication, is in this case a modifier (an adjective) describing the thing, as in the “type” of language or speech. These are dirty, foul, unkind, rotten, useless, unfit, poor quality, putrid, and worthless words. And yes, this is certainly an accurate depiction of the command. But, let us take a slightly different perspective and instead of modifying the thing, “the communication,” let us speak to the action of what is happening. We are reminded of James 2:18 where we are taught that simply describing faith is not where the power is, but the power is in the action, the doing. The Hebraic perspective is always in the doing. “Hear, O Israel: Yahweh our Mighty One, Yahweh is one! You shall love Yahweh your Mighty One with all your heart [mind, will, intentions, emotions], and with all your strength.” (Deuteronomy 6:4-5) The Hebrew “Hear” means to listen and obey, to hear the words and then show oneself obedient to them. The action is where the power is!
Let’s, therefore, take another look at the idea of “corrupt”, this time from a Hebraic action perspective. What is the power in the corrupt words, not just the juicy description of what corrupt words are? The words are not simply foul and useless; they possess power that triggers decay, rotting, festering, wasting away, melting, dwindling, and dissolving; they cause a fall. It is not simply that these poor quality words emanate from the lips; it is that they create death! Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and they who indulge in it shall eat the fruit of it [for death or life]. (Proverbs 18:21) Again we are reminded of James. Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell… It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. (James 3:5-6, 8)
Corrupt words caused the fall! “Did the Most High really say not to eat? You will surely not die! The woman you gave me! The serpent deceived me!” (Genesis 3:1, 4, 12, 13) The Adam in us knows that it takes only one wrong thought for the entire cascade to begin. Fallen thoughts are followed by fallen words, which precede fallen actions. They trigger decay, rotting, festering, wasting away, melting, dwindling, and dissolving of everything around them. Corrupt words start an avalanche of destruction. What the mind thinks, the tongue professes, and the physical world obeys. Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and they who indulge in it shall eat the fruit of it [for death or life].
This is a never-ending pattern that must be understood and dealt with. With acceptance of this Holy standard comes the inexcusable reality that there are no idle thoughts, no minor words, and no insignificant proclamations. It is only the corrupt “self” that allows you to think that thoughts and words are minor things. “If I don’t murder or commit adultery, I’m good.” Yet, if you hate your brother in your heart (mind) or call him a fool you have already murdered him. If you undress that woman with your eyes or make lustful comments, you have already committed adultery in your heart (Matthew 5:21-30). There are no idle thoughts, minor words, or insignificant proclamations.
A great price was paid to save your mind. There is nothing worse than minimizing what that sacrifice meant to Yahweh. Giving yourself room to have a sloppy tongue is like trampling His Son underfoot and counting His shed blood as common (Hebrews 10:29). It would be better that you had not been born than to live like your thoughts and words don’t matter to Him.
Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Most High. (Matthew 4:4) Your words, like His, have the power of life and death. Why not choose life? Ezekiyl prophesied to the dry bones, “Hear the word of Yahweh!” And they lived, and stood upon their feet, an exceedingly great army (Ezekiyl 37:4-10). Every thought matters loved one, and now it should be obvious that every word that emanates from those thoughts also matters, every word. So, think life and then speak life!