Haman's Hate Crimes Against the Jews

Do you remember last week when I asked if you appreciated owning your own Bible and that it is in your own language? Can you imagine not having a Bible and never hearing it in your own language? Can you imagine what the day would be like when you got your very own Bible in your language? It happened to some people last month, and a friend of mine was there to witness it. Listen to what that day was like. “On August 23, in a village in central Tanzania (which is in east Africa), around 600 people gathered to celebrate the dedication of the New Testament in the Burunge language! What a day– music, singing, dancing, preaching, and reading from the Word of God in the Burunge language! There was a moment during the celebrations when the importance of the occasion hit home with me. Several Burunge dressed in traditional clothing were leading a cultural dance and invited some of us to come out and dance with them. With arms around people I had never met before, jumping up and down as we moved around in a circle, tears came to my eyes as I experienced a piece of their joy in receiving the Word of God in their mother tongue. Praise the Lord for the power of his Word and that the Burunge now have the New Testament in their language!” (Johnny Walker). Can you imagine not having the truth of the Word of God in your own language? Can you imagine what a famine of the Word of God would be like?

By What Authority? Scripture Alone

Do you remember last week when I asked if you appreciated owning your own Bible and that it is in your own language? Can you imagine not having a Bible and never hearing it in your own language? Can you imagine what the day would be like when you got your very own Bible in your language? It happened to some people last month, and a friend of mine was there to witness it. Listen to what that day was like. “On August 23, in a village in central Tanzania (which is in east Africa), around 600 people gathered to celebrate the dedication of the New Testament in the Burunge language! What a day– music, singing, dancing, preaching, and reading from the Word of God in the Burunge language! There was a moment during the celebrations when the importance of the occasion hit home with me. Several Burunge dressed in traditional clothing were leading a cultural dance and invited some of us to come out and dance with them. With arms around people I had never met before, jumping up and down as we moved around in a circle, tears came to my eyes as I experienced a piece of their joy in receiving the Word of God in their mother tongue. Praise the Lord for the power of his Word and that the Burunge now have the New Testament in their language!” (Johnny Walker). Can you imagine not having the truth of the Word of God in your own language? Can you imagine what a famine of the Word of God would be like?

Mordecai Saves teh King

We are in Susa, one of the oldest cities in the world located in present day Iran. It served as the winter capital of Persia. On a hill in the center of the city was the citadel, or fortress palace, of King Ahasuerus (Xerxes I the Great), emperor of the largest empire up to that time in history, stretching from India to Egypt. He was the most powerful man in the world. Esther was crowned the new queen to replace Vashti and as King Ahasuerus liked to do, there was a huge party to celebrate. Now the story quickly settles into the political life around the palace, stories of promotions and plots, the stuff of our evening news. Life in politics is never all sweetness and light.

Cracked Cisterns

In the Protestant world, this year is a Jubilee year, the 500th anniversary of when a young monk, Martin Luther, did the modern equivalent of making an online blog post inviting public discussion. He nailed 95 theses or points for discussion to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany. It was the nail that turned the world upside down. Completely unknown to him or even intended by him, he lit a fire that still burns 500 years later. This event is being commemorated all over Europe and North America this Fall. Lord willing, we will spend the next seven Lord’s Days leading up to Reformation Sunday, October 29, considering five pillars of the Protestant Reformation and how they relate to us today. But before we do that it is reasonable to ask the question why, is it really necessary or important?

The Fruit of Our Labor

What will you do with your 100,000? You are thinking, “100,000 what?” It depends on what we are talking about right? It’s not dollars, it’s hours. On average those who are employed outside of the home will work around 100,000 hours in our working years. 50 hours a week times 50 weeks a year times 40 years. What do you want to do with your 100,000 hours, how do you want to spend them, what do you want to think about them as you look back over them? We may not realize it but we are asked to start thinking about those questions at a pretty young age. “What are you going to be when you grow up?” isn’t so much a question about a job, but about your life and what you are going to do with it? 100,000 hours is a huge amount of time, about a third of our days during our working years. Something that takes that much of our life is something we should think about from a Biblical perspective. How do we want to invest our life’s energy? When we pray the Lord’s Prayer, “give us this day our daily bread” how does God answer that prayer? Work. Not just our work, but the labors of countless thousands of others. Just a single loaf of bread is the work of a staggering number of people from the farmers to truckers to bakers to produces to distributors to grocery stores to us through our work. How often when we bow to say grace over a meal do we consider the vast number of people and infrastructure behind the blessings on our table and in our homes? There are two Psalms that are back to back that speak of our labor, one speaks of the vanity of it and the other of the fruitfulness of it. One speaks of eating the bread of anxious toil and the other of eating the fruit of the labor of our hands. Will our labor be in vain or will it be fruitful? How can we have the second and not the first? Psalm 127:1-2 Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. 2 It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep. Psalm 128:1-2 Blessed is everyone who fears the Lord, who walks in his ways! 2 You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands; you shall be blessed, and it shall be well with you. Do your work as unto the Lord and not as unto Man.