Working the Plan

Ah, it’s back to Monday morning again. December 19, 2011. Only six more days until Christmas, and 12 days left in 2011. 108 days until Opening Day.

Yesterday was a pretty good day. Our Worship Celebration was good (not the best we’ve ever seen, but it was still nice), and Joel brought us a good message that both encouraged the believer and gave the gospel to those who are not believers. After referencing “It’s A Wonderful Life” as his favorite Christmas movie (“White Christmas” is mine), he played with the title and called his message “Jesus Is the Most Wonderful Life of All.” His main point was that “God sent the wonderful life of Jesus to give us the possibility of everlasting life in Him.”

After church, some good friends at church took Stephanie out for lunch (they were supposed to go groom horses, but it was too muddy after the recent rain we have had), while we went out with Rachel and Justin, who came over for the afternoon. We had a wonderful time with them, and Steph had a blast with the family that took her out. We are so grateful to them for befriending Stephanie in this way. It means so much to her, and to us, as well.

Today’s Bible readings:
Revelation 10; Esther 1-3; Micah 5:2; Jeremiah 31:15

Revelation 10 pauses from the blowing of the trumpets for a bit, and another angel appears, coming down from heaven. He carries a scroll, a little scroll, in his hand. When he lands with one foot on the land and another on the sea, he speaks with a voice that sounds like a roaring lion. When he spoke, “the seven thunders sounded.” However, John was not allowed to write down what the seven thunders said. John was then told to take the scroll and eat it. It tasted sweet in his mouth, but it was bitter in his stomach. Then he was told, “You must again prophesy about many peoples and nations and languages and kings.” (v. 11) The angel says that, when the seventh trumpet is sounded, “the mystery of God [will] be fulfilled.” (v. 7)

The book of Esther is an interesting book, and from what I hear, almost didn’t make it into the “canon” of Scripture. It is a simple story, really, involving a man named Mordecai, one of the Jews who was carried away from Israel, and his uncle’s daughter, Esther. He was raising her, because she had no mother or father. When the king, Ahasuerus (also known as Xerxes), commanded his queen to make an appearance, so that he could show off her beauty, she refused. He became so angry that he decreed that she be never allowed to be in his presence again (I’m actually surprised that he didn’t have her killed) and that he would replace her with another queen. Afterward, he sent men out to find “beautiful young virgins” in the kingdom. Esther was chosen, and was groomed for six months to compete for the queen’s position. She won the favor of the king and became the new queen. However, Mordecai had instructed her to not reveal her heritage. At some point Mordecai learned of a plot to assassinate the king, and revealed it to Esther, who, in turn, revealed it to the king. This will come into play later. In chapter 3, a man named Haman decides he hates the Jews, and goes to the king to devise a plot to destroy all of them. The king, not realizing that his queen is one of the Jews, agrees to the plot.

Micah 5:2–But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days.
Jeremiah 31:15–Thus says the LORD: “A voice is heard in Ramah, lamentation and bitter weeping. Rachel is weeping for her children; she refuses to be comforted for her children, because they are no more.”

Both of these are Scriptures that were fulfilled at the birth of Christ. The Micah passage, because Jesus was born in Bethlehem, and the Jeremiah passage, because, after he was born, King Herod had all male children two years old younger, slaughtered.

Father, as I am running short on time (which is so often the case on Monday morning), I praise you for the way in which your prophecies worked out. As our pastor said yesterday morning, the entire Old Testament seems to be pointing toward Christ and his redemption of us from our sins. He is the perfect sacrifice, which replaced the Old Testament system, and which permanently paid the price for our sins. We need never again be worried about having to make restitution to you for our sins, because Jesus has taken the entirety of the sins of his people upon himself. This is truly wonderful, and is worthy of all the praise and thanksgiving of your people.
It need not concern us, Lord, that words from Daniel and John the Revelator have been shut up, sealed up, so that we cannot know what they heard. The reason it does not concern me is that my faith is in you, and I know that you are in control and you are working your plan. I have no need to know everything that will happen. This holds true for my life, as well. I have no need to know what’s going to happen tomorrow. I don’t know about tomorrow, but I know who holds my hand. You, who watch over the sparrow, care more about me than the little bird. I have confidence in this, and I have confidence in your plan coming to its ultimate fruition.

I pray for this day. I pray that Christi and I will have a good day at work. I pray for Stephanie’s day at home. She has no more meetings with her teacher until next year, so I pray that we might be able to come up with a few things to keep her from getting bored. Give us wisdom to help her, Father.

I pray for this coming weekend that there will be peace in our household as we celebrate Christmas together. Keep us all safe, Lord.

God’s plan is at work. He does not need our help, nor does he need our advice. We do not know better than him. All we need is faith to believe that he is in control and that he is working it out.

Grace and peace, friends.